Maintenance & Service
What Trees does the City Maintain?
The City owns and maintains “Street Trees” that are located in the Right-Of-Way for the benefit of the community. There are three typical Right-Of-Way planting conditions along City streets:
1) sidewalk separated from the curb by a park strip; Where the right-of-way typically ends behind the sidewalk.
(2) contiguous sidewalk curb and gutter; Where the right-of-way typically extends 5.5 feet behind the contiguous curb, gutter and sidewalk. Most trees farther back from the walk are privately owned.
(3) no street improvements; Where no street improvements occur, Street Tree Division staff verify the right-of-way lines using subdivision records.
North-South streets in the older portions of Chico typically have 80 foot right-of-ways. East-West streets in the older portions of Chico typically have 60 foot right-of-ways. These can vary, so it is best to check if there are any doubts.
Currently, there are approximately 25,000 street trees within the public Right-Of-Way. Another 8,000 locations are available as future tree planting sites.
If you observe a large broken branch or other immediate hazards, please contact the Street Tree Division at (530) 896-7800.
Calls for service are reviewed and work is prioritized for response based upon need and hazard. The City is currently focusing on emergency and urgent hazards affecting the public right-of-way.
Tree Maintenance Permits
If you’d like to have work done on a City street tree and you can not wait for the work to be completed by the City, you have the option of applying for a City tree permit for planting, removal or pruning (see PDF below for form), and if approved, paying a City approved tree company (see PDF below for Approved Tree Service companies) to complete the work. Trees that are removed usually must be replaced. New trees must be on the City’s Approved Street Tree List. The permit is valid for 60 calendar days. Prior to the City issuing a tree permit, either the property owner or the contractor performing the work must provide evidence of: 1.) General Liability Insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 in the aggregate, 2.) Additional Insured Endorsement CG 20 12 or CG 20 26, and 3.) Primary & Non-Contributory Endorsement.
Tree Planting, Removal or Pruning Permit Application
Approved Tree Service Companies
Types of City Tree Service
Tree and stump removals are typically performed by contractor. Lists are generated and assigned to the contractor on a quarterly basis. Emergency tree removals are often handled by City crews. Trees are removed if they are dead, dying, diseased, or structurally unsound.
Pest control work on City street trees is performed on a limited basis. New insect pests such as the Asian wooly hackberry aphid can spread to the Chico area. These pests often do not have natural predators to keep them in check. Under these conditions, the City may establish a city-wide pest control program. Control measures for diseases are not typically used.
Our Urban Forest History
Before he founded Chico in 1872, General John Bidwell had already started a tradition of planting trees. Pictures as early as 1861 show trees planted along the fronts of buildings, providing shade for the people and horses below. Many of these historical trees can be found throughout the city, particularly in the older residential neighborhoods near downtown. Chico’s tradition of planting street trees continues to this day.
Research has shown that street trees provide real, quantifiable value for the community. The Chico urban forest creates a significant sense of pride and community identity, and is recognized as a key component of the community design element. Since 1984, the City of Chico has been designated as a ‘Tree City USA’ by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The governing body for Chico’s Urban Forestry Program is the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, which receives its authority from the Chico City Charter Section 1006.1.B. The general policies of the program are contained in Chapter 14.40 of the Chico Municipal Code.
The Commission adopts standards, specifications and other regulations governing the planting, removal and maintenance of trees and shrubs necessary for carrying out the purposes of Chapter 14.40. The Commission also adopts a City-wide street tree plan controlling the planting of trees and shrubs in public planting areas. The policies adopted by the Commission are carried out by Street Tree Division Staff of the General Services Department.
Urban Forest Management Plan
The Tree Committee of the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission (BPPC) will be working on a draft Urban Forest Management Plan. Click on this link to view the current draft. Your comments can be sent to Richie Bamlet, Urban Forest Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your concerns and your comments.
Public Landscaped Areas and Districts
Hundreds of public greenways and Maintenance Districts are located throughout Chico. These areas are maintained by contract and are inspected by City staff. The City of Chico values the observations of its citizens. If you see broken trees, damaged plants, or malfunctioning irrigation systems in medians or other public landscapes, please contact our office.
Chico Tree Watering Guide
Contrary to what you may think, a dying tree may be the result of too much water. When first planted, a brand new lawn and tree require daily irrigation, but after the first month, the watering schedule needs to be changed to allow both the lawn and the tree to establish deep roots and become more drought tolerant. Here are few tips on how to properly water your trees and lawns:
Despite Chico’s hot summers, it is important to water lawns and the trees growing in them less frequently, but long enough so the water percolates at least six to eight inches deep.
Keeping lawns too wet on the surface with everyday watering encourages surface rooting of landscape trees and can lead to root diseases in both the lawn and the tree. The soil needs to dry out slightly between waterings so oxygen can enter the soil and carbon dioxide given off by the roots can escape.
It is best to apply water every two to three days per week during the other months of the growing season. In most years, it is not necessary to irrigate at all during the months of December to March.
On average, sprinklers should run no more than 17-20 minutes. If you get run-off during this duration, set the timer to run in several shorter watering intervals.
Water early in the morning between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Never water in the heat of the day, because water will be lost to evaporation before it even reaches the lawn.
Keep the lawn cut away from the trunk of the tree. Research shows that trees grow much faster and healthier if the lawn is kept back at least three feet from the trunk.
Click for more ways to nurture your street tree.
The University of California has several publications that explain how to test your sprinkler system to determine the number of minutes and days needed to irrigate a lawn, depending on the month of the year.
Tree/Plant Care Information
Parkway/Parkstrip Conversion Guidelines
Chico Avenues Street Tree Walking Tour Map
Finding Quality Nursery Trees
How to Nurture Your Street Tree
Chico Tree Guide
PG&E Planting and Pruning Guide
Regulations and Plans
Right of Way Explanation
Street Tree Municipal Code Section 14.40
Tree Planting Standard Detail
Tree Preservation Regulations CMC 16.66
Tree Preservaton Standards CMC 19.68
Approved Street Tree List
Heritage Tree Application
Heritage Tree Program
Tree Planting, Removal or Pruning Permit Application
Vegetation Cutting Permit