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Renewing the Urban Forest: When a Tree Is Removed

When trees are in a state of decline and must be replaced based on the specific criteria outlined the Urban Forest Master Plan, the City will implement a systematic and proactive replacement program that assures a variation in the ages and an optimum diversity of tree species.  In cases where removal of declining trees would create a significant visual impact on a neighborhood if removed at once, the replacement program will be phased over time unless public safety is jeopardized.

A tree may be removed when:

  • A tree is dead.
  • A tree has reached an over-mature condition and is in declining health which will result in its death within the year
  • A tree is infected with a disease which cannot be treated successfully and/or there is a strong potential that the pathogen could spread to other trees in the immediate vicinity.
  • A tree has been determined through a Hazard Evaluation Report to be a hazard because of its high potential for failure due to considerable dead or dying foliage, branches, roots or trunk.
  • A tree requires extensive root pruning because of excessive hardscape damage resulting in the severe reduction of its capacity to support itself, thereby creating a potential safety hazard.

The City Council also has the discretion to identify special situations where a targeted replacement program may be desirable.  An example is a comprehensive streetscape project in a commercial district where a primary goal is to unify the area through a newly designed streetscape.  Street trees are a significant unifying feature and it may be important to replace all or a portion of the trees in order to create this unity and give a special identity to the particular street.  In cases where this is appropriate as determined by the City Council, the City shall make relocation of existing healthy trees that are removed a priority.


Sign up here to be notified of upcoming tree removals in the City of Santa Monica. Or, see the archived tree removal lists below.

Notices of Intent to Remove/Replace Street & Park Trees 


Street Tree Removal Appeal

The Urban Forest Master Plan outlines a tree removal appeals process.  There are two types of appeals: 1. An appeal of a determination to remove a tree; or 2. An appeal of a determination that a tree cannot be removed- Exception Process. 

Click here for the Tree Removal Appeal Application

City of Santa Monica © 2021

Santa Monica Public Landscape Division, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 · 310.458.8974 ·
Hours: M-Th, 7:30am-5:30pm; Alternate Fridays: 8am-5pm