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Tree Removal Policy

Tree Removal Flowchart


To preserve the natural beauty of Santa Cruz County by limiting the removal of trees within road rights of ways and replacing those which are removed with new plantings.


A woody perennial plant having a single main axis, stem, or trunk, exceeding ten feet in height; not shrubs or bushes.

Removal of trees by County forces or agents of the County shall be limited to removal for the following reasons:

  • Trees which are dead, seriously diseased, badly out of balance, or otherwise in the process of falling and are threatening the motoring public or pedestrians.
  • Trees which, in the opinion of the Highway Patrol, are a traffic hazard due to the obstruction of sight distance or of regulatory traffic control devices.
  • Trees which must be removed for the purpose of a road improvement project in the interests of traffic safety, or as otherwise authorized by the Board of Supervisors.

Removal of trees by other parties under encroachment
permit shall be limited to:

  • Those trees which must be removed to provide vehicular access to the property, where no suitable alternate exists.
  • Those trees which must be removed to provide adequate sight distance for a vehicle entering the County road from the driveway, and where no alternative exists.
  • Those trees which are endangering the health and welfare, including the peace of mind, of the property owner, and where a substantial number of property owners in the immediate vicinity have signed a statement to that effect.
  • Those trees which interfere with the installation or function of a public utility and where no reasonable alternative exists.


The person or agency responsible for the removal of any tree or trees shall plant a tree of suitable species in the immediate vicinity of the removed tree or at a location deemed more suitable as determined by the Department of Public Works.  Trees under 12" in diameter, measured one foot from the base, shall be replaced with trees of one-gallon size.  Those over 12 inches in diameter shall be replaced with five-gallon trees.

Maintenance Yard

2700 Brommer Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95062
(831) 477-3999 Dispatch
(24 hours a day)

Transportation and Roads

701 Ocean Street, Room 410
Santa Cruz, California 95060
(831) 454-2160

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Steve Wiesner
Assistant Director
Transportation & Roads

Gregory R. Jones
Sr. Civil Engineer

Tim Bailey
Sr. Civil Engineer
Road Design and Bridges

Casey Carlson
Sr. Civil Engineer
Operations Engineering