City of La Cañada Flintridge is a “Tree City USA”. The Tree City USA® program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 135 million Americans call home. Trees are essential to the character and charm of La Cañada Flintridge. The City goes to great lengths to protect trees on private property and within the public right of way. To that end, the City has elected to adopt ordinances that protect private and public trees. The City has also adopted the Tree Preservation and Protection Guidelines to help homeowners care for their trees.

Trees in Public Right of Way

Trees and shrubs in the “public right-of-way” are regulated by Chapter 4.24 of the Municipal Code. Due to the rural nature of many of the streets in the City, it is sometimes difficult to know if a tree is in the public right-of-way or if it is on private property. Before any work is done to a tree, please check with the Public Works Department at 818-790-8882 to determine whether it is on public or private property. It may take up to seven business days to verify a tree location if a site visit is required. Please allow adequate time to prevent any delays for your ongoing project.

To preserve and continuously maintain trees to industry standards in the public right-of-way, the City has a 5-Year Grid Trimming Program in place. The program ensures that all 15,000 trees in the public right-of-way are trimmed at least once every five years. This ensures that all trees remain healthy while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing look throughout the City. Grid Trimming Program is administrated by the City’s Administration Department under the risk management services.

If you have questions or would like to report a City-owned tree-related matter, please use the resources below.

Trees on Private Property

The City Council has adopted Chapter 11.40 of the Municipal Code regarding the “Preservation, Protection and Removal of Trees” on private property. Its stated purpose is: “…to preserve and protect the trees that are of historic or aesthetic importance, and to provide for the protection and replacement of trees to maintain the community’s wooded character; protect the scenic beauty of the area; reduce erosion of topsoil…and to address fire concerns by discouraging the planting of…highly flammable trees.” The intent is to preserve and encourage the regeneration of a healthy urban forest. Protected private property trees may only be removed by the actual homeowner or an arborist authorized by the City after approval of a Tree Removal Permit. The City has an Official City Tree Preservation and Protection Guidelines to assist residents in preserving and protecting trees. In addition to the Guidelines, the City Council has established a replacement tree chart and penalties for the illegal removal of trees. If you intend to plant around oak trees, please review the California Oak Foundation Guide.

Landscaping is one of the largest users of water in the City today. To conserve water a Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance. Chapter 4.23 of the Municipal Code provides direction for the development of new or redeveloped landscape areas for residential and non-residential properties. Further resources may be found on the State Department of Water Resources website.

Contact Planning Department if you have any questions on Trees on Private Property 818-790-8881.