Urban Forest News & FAQs

Santa Monica is featured in the September/October edition of the Society of Municipal Arborists online publication City Trees. Check it out here!

Upcoming Urban Forest Task Force meeting: 
January 25, 2017 at the Joslyn Park Auditorium

 In case you couldn't make it to one of the Neighborhood Group meetings where the proposed revisions to the Urban Forest Master Plan were recently presented, you can check out the slideshow here and the list of species changes (highlighted in green) here. Please contact 310-458-8974 or trees@smgov.net with any questions!

To appeal the removal of a public tree in Santa Monica, please fill out the Tree Removal Appeal Application.

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Urban Forest Master Plan
The Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP) was unanimously approved by City Council on December 13, 2011 to guide the perpetuation and management of Santa Monica's urban forest over the next 50 years. The plan is a living document that will be evaluated and updated over time as new technologies and advancements in urban forestry become available. Copies of the UFMP are available at all branches of the Santa Monica Library and for review at the Public Landscape Division in Clover Park at 2600 Ocean Park Boulevard. The Urban Forest Master Plan is the culmination of two years of community input and planning by the Council-appointed Urban Forest Task Force and we thank the many community members who participated in this process.


Urban Forest Master Plan 2016 Revision:

Over the past ten months, the staff has worked alongside a subcommittee of the Council-appointed Urban Forest Task Force to revise the UFMP's Street Tree Designations. This list divides up the city's streets into nearly 400 segments and identifies replacement species for each one. The revisions are based on criteria such as drought tolerance, nursery stock availability, and "right tree for the right place" assessments that include parkway width and the presence or absence of overhead wires. The main goal of this revision is to add diversity and resilience to our urban forest, thus strengthening the sustainability of one of our most valuable assets and enhancing the many benefits that trees provide.

Staff members have been meeting with city commissions and neighborhood groups to share the proposed UFMP changes and solicit feedback. The Urban Forest Task Force approved the revisions to the UFMP at its meeting on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016. A draft plan is expected to go to City Council for approval in January 2017.

Cover Trees Watering Guidelines(2) 

Guidelines for Tree Watering During a Drought
To help guide community tree watering efforts during a severe drought, the Urban Forest staff have created a guide titled "How to Help Urban Trees Survive A Drought." The City of Santa Monica recommends a four-step approach to assessing whether your trees need supplemental watering.
Please review the complete guide for expert input regarding these supplemental watering recommendations: young trees (less than 5 years since planted) and mature trees (more than 5 years since planted; "established"). You will learn how to assess trees and calculate the amount of water they need based on their size. Attached to the guide is also an Appendix of common trees found in Santa Monica. If your tree species is unknown, we recommend minimal supplemental watering.
Why Water Trees?

The City of Santa Monica has over 33,000 street and park trees. A 2015 research study by the U.S. Forest Service calculated these trees annually deliver $5.1 million dollars' worth of benefits to the community by cleaning the air, increasing property value, and reducing energy use among others. Research has also shown that a good level of tree cover can increase property value from 6% to 9%. Drought directly threatens urban trees, as water is required for healthy growth and functioning. A lack of water causes high levels of stress, increases susceptibility to pathogen attack and can cause eventual death.

Guidelines for Ficus berry clean-up in Santa Monica




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Interview with Urban Forester Matthew Wells
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Santa Monica Public Landscape Division, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 | p: 310.458.8974