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Urban Forest Street Tree Pruning Program 

All trees in the City, located in the public right-of-way, are pruned on a 1, 2, 3 or 5-year cycle. Because trees are unique in form and structure, each tree's species needs and locations are taken into consideration for the Urban Forest Tree Pruning Program. Immediately below are maps representative of Santa Monica's tree pruning program for fiscal years 2019-20 through 2024-25 (July 1 - June 30). 

Urban Forest Tree Pruning Program - overview


FY19-20 Pruning Schedule

FY20-21 Pruning Schedule

FY21-22 Pruning Schedule

FY22-23 Pruning Schedule

FY23-24 Pruning Schedule

FY24-25 Pruning Schedule


Tree Pruning in City Parks


The City specifies the following types of pruning techniques in accordance with the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) A300 - American National Standard for Tree Care Operations: Tree, Shrub, and Other Woody Plant Management – Standard Practices (Pruning) 2017 and the associated International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Best Management Practices. 

Crown Cleaning

Crown cleaning involves the removal of dead, dying, diseased, weakly attached, low vigor branches and water sprouts. This pruning specification essentially removes non-beneficial parts of a tree to manage health and risk.

Crown Raising

Crown raising involves the removal of the lower branches of a tree in order to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, streetlights, traffic signs and pedestrians.

Crown Reduction

Crown reduction reduces the height and/or spread of a tree and is commonly used to reduce stress within a tree’s structure. Reduction cuts should be made at a lateral branch at least one-third the diameter of the branch being removed. It is recommended that not more than 25% of a tree’s live foliage is removed by a crown reduction.

Crown Thinning

Crown thinning of a tree canopy reduces the density of live branches or foliage. It is often use to increase light penetration. Excessive crown thinning of all the inside lateral branches of a tree is known as lions-tailing. This unacceptable practice displaces the weight of the foliage to the end of the branch. This often makes the tree susceptible to sun scald and limb failure as it changes the structural integrity of the canopy.

Proper care and technique must be administered with this practice.

Palm Pruning

Only dead, diseased or yellowing fronds, as well as nuisance fruit/flowers, can be pruned off of a palm.  Cuts shall be made as close to the trunk as possible without cutting into live tissue.  Potential diseased trees must be treated and tools treated to prevent the spread.  

Climbing spurs are never to be used when pruning any tree, especially palms.  Topping trees is also not permitted.

Reasons for pruning include mitigating risk, improving or maintaining health, developing desired appearance, preventing interference with infrastructure and other specific objectives.  Specification must be administered by an arborist.  Safety must never be compromised.  Pruning systems and objectives shall be practiced accordingly as each tree/plant/site varies.



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