Davis, CA Urban Forestry Program

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Davis, CA, US

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Type: Program

Status: Established in 1963

Source File: http://www.city.davis.ca.us/pcs/trees/


The City of Davis Urban Forestry Program officially began in 1963 with the establishment of the Street Tree Committee (now the Tree Commission). Prior to 1963, developers were encouraged to plant a tree in the "parkway" in subdivisions which, in most cases, the City assumed as street trees. The purpose of the program initially was to provide shade and aesthetics for our community, which remains the primary concern. However, through the years, the program has evolved into a much larger one than the initial planting of a street tree.

Currently, the City maintains about 13,000 street trees, and over 5,000 trees in parks and greenbelts. Maintenance includes everything from the original planting, to pruning, integrated pest management, replacement, and keeping current on the latest care and control methods. Trees are now designated only after consideration of growth rates, required maintenance, size, and environment.

In 1977, the City received national recognition for our Street Tree Program by the National Arbor Day Foundation. We have continued to received this annual award, and are known nationally as a "Tree City USA".

The Street Tree Committee realized that a major asset to the community was not only the trees planted in the future, but also the many existing trees on private property which were irreplaceable. In the late 1960's the Committee began a survey of all trees in Davis in order to establish the Landmark Tree List. The list is made up of approximately 100 trees which met all of the following criteria:

1. An outstanding specimen of a desirable species
2. One of the largest or oldest trees in Davis
3. Of historical interest
4. Of distinctive form

Each property owner was given a framed Resolution of Appreciation for keeping the trees healthy for present and future citizens to enjoy. The Committee also found many other trees which did not meet all of the criteria, but were very beneficial to the community. These trees were put on a Trees Worth Saving List. Since a major portion of the commercial development in Davis is in the core area, where many of the Landmark and Trees Worth Saving listed trees are located, the remodeling or development of properties with these trees is usually contingent upon saving the trees and designing structures around them. See the Guidelines for the Preservation of Existing Trees for more information.

The Urban Forestry Program consists of six basic aspects:

1. The Master Tree List
2. The Tree planting program
3. A Tree maintenance program
4. A Tree inventory
5. The Tree Commission
6. An informed and supportive public

Definition of a City Street Tree
Any tree planted, maintained, and/or assumed by the City of Davis within the public easement, which is a ten foot strip inside of the curb or the back edge of the sidewalk, running parallel to the street, and is a tree species which is listed on the current and/or past Master Street Tree List. All new replacements will be selected from the current approved list. The current Master Street Tree List supersedes any or all others upon annual review and approval by City Council action.

Tree Planting Policy
The seasonal planting of new street trees and replacements occurs in January and February (weather permitting). Through the year, the tree crew keeps lists of new homes and homes needing replacement trees. Once the trees are received, a street is "posted" - the crew leaves a stake, notice of the program, and a description of the type of tree to be planted. We ask each resident to place the stake where they would like the tree, avoiding utility lines, property lines, and keeping at least four feet from walks or the driveway. The tree crew returns within a week (weather permitting) to plant the tree. Please note the limitation on planting on corner lots, necessary to preserve visibility.

City Maintenance Program
All street trees are maintained by the Parks & Community Services Department. This program includes the original planting, replacement if necessary, pruning, pest and fungus control, removals, storm damage repairs, staking, etc.

How Residents May Help
Residents are asked to deep water all newly planted trees by mechanical water injectors or flooding of the basin. Normal lawn watering will not supply the amount of water needed for establishing a new tree. To protect the trunk and provide a water basin for the tree, we ask that you clear an area of approximately 18 inches around the base. Normally, new trees are not staked as a stronger trunk is usually developed if the tree is not staked. However, if the tree should start leaning or needs other attention, please call the Parks & Community Services Department, and we will check the tree. A record of each tree is kept if you would like to know the type, planting date, or other information. For more information about caring for your new street tree, click here.

Tree Commission
The purpose of the Tree Commission is to act in an advisory capacity to the City Council and the Urban Forestry Manger. The Commission is made up of five members and an alternate, all appointed by the City Council. The Commission meets on the third Thursday of each month at 5:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Davis Police Department, located at 2600 Fifth Street (corner of Fifth Street and Cantrill Drive).