Tree Removal Permit Sacramento, CA, City of Sacramento Tree Ordinance

According to the City of Sacramento Tree Ordinance, you can’t cut certain trees down without a tree removal permit. The ordinance covers various tree types that grow on private and county-owned properties.

If you are unsure whether a permit is required to remove a hazardous, damaged, or dead tree in your yard, contact our team at Fallen Leaf Tree Management today.

When Do You Need a Tree Removal Permit?

According to Sacramento’s Zoning Code Regulations and Tree Preservation and Protection Ordinance, a permit is required to prune or remove the following tree types:

  • Public Trees: If you prune or remove any public tree without a permit, you may have to pay a fine. Any trees that grow on county-owned lands, such as parks or building grounds, count as “public trees.” That includes trees growing on the side of roadways or on a public right-of-way.
  • Native Oaks: A tree removal permit is required to remove any native oak growing on private or public land. Examples of native oak trees include valley oak, live oak, and blue oak.
  • Select Landscaping Trees: Trees growing on the landscaped areas surrounding commercial or residential buildings, including parking lots, require a removal permit.
  • Landmark Trees: The Office of Planning and Environmental Review marks trees that are easily recognizable or have historical or environmental value. The county preserves these trees for their popularity, and no individual can remove them without a permit.
  • Heritage Trees: The removal permit for heritage trees differs from that for public and private trees. A heritage tree is a private property tree that has significant community benefits. Common heritage trees include:
    • Native trees, such as Coast oaks, Interior oaks, and Buckeye that have a 12-inch diameter standard height (DSH)
    • Any tree with a 32-inch DSH on a single-family or duplex property
    • Any 24-inch DSH tree on undeveloped land or developed commercial, industrial, or residential property


How Getting a Tree Removal Permit in Sacramento Works

Sacramento typically only removes city trees if they endanger public safety, but you can request to have one removed at your own expense for other reasons.

Getting a permit to remove a public or private tree is straightforward. All you have to do is download the form from the Planning and Environmental Review page, complete it, and send it to the Urban Forestry office for approval. The approval process typically takes about 10 business days but can at times take longer.

If the Urban Forestry office rejects your tree permit application, you will receive a written explanation for the denial and instructions that detail how to submit an appeal. According to the Sacramento City Code (12.56.070), you can submit a written appeal within 15 days of receiving a rejection. The appeal must state why you want the tree removed, and you must accompany it with the required fees.

Check out Sacramento County’s Planning and Environmental Review page for more information about how tree removal permits work in Sacramento, CA.

How to File for a Tree Removal Permit Sacramento, CA

You can apply to remove multiple trees on one permit. The application form for requesting a tree removal permit is available online. After filling out the form, you can submit it online or in-person to the Sacramento County Tree Coordinator. Alternatively, submit your application via email (to [email protected]) or mail.

If the Sacramento County office approves your application, you have to pay a fee of $31.35. You can pay the fee online, in person, or send a check via mail. Increase your chances of submitting a successful application by providing the following information:

  • The location of the tree and your contact information


You’ll need to include a property sketch that shows where each tree is located and nearby landmarks. Alternately, for an accurate depiction of the area, accompany your application with an aerial photograph and mark the tree’s location. If applying to prune or remove more than one tree, provide identification numbers for each tree.


  • Clear photographs of the tree you want to cut down or prune


The photographs must capture the area surrounding the tree. They must also show the entire tree, especially its defective portions and the trunk from 10 feet away. If the tree is posing a danger to your property or already damaging it, your photographs must capture the imminent or occurring damage.


  • State the tree’s trunk diameter your reasons for wanting the tree removed or pruned


You must measure from 4.5 feet above the ground and give a complete description of the reason for removal. If you are not the tree owner, your application must contain the owner’s consent to work on the tree.


The tree’s owner is the person who owns the property where the tree has its roots. The owner’s consent must come in the form of a signed letter and clearly state their name and contact information.


  • Information on who will remove the tree

Your application must contain the name of the company that will perform the tree pruning or removal. Only an ISA-certified arborist or tree worker can prune or remove tree limbs and roots that are more than 2 inches thick.

Applicants can only perform minor pruning of private trees. If your application is to remove a city tree, the Urban Forestry office may require that you plant another tree to replace the removed one. Removing or pruning a tree without following the City of Sacramento Tree Ordinance can lead to fines ranging between $250 and $25,000. You may also face civil actions or criminal sanctions.

Need Help Getting a Tree Removal Permit in Sacramento, CA?

If you need help removing or pruning a public or private tree, get in touch with our team at Fallen Leaf Tree Management. We have years of experience and have handled residential and commercial tree removal and pruning projects of all sizes.

We are also knowledgeable about the latest laws relating to the City of Sacramento Tree Ordinance, meaning you can count on us for legal tree removal. Call us today at 916-447-8733 to schedule an arborist consultation and discuss how we can make your private or public tree removal hassle-free.

Fallen Leaf Tree Management

Expert Tree Care in the heart of Sacramento & surrounding areas with your satisfaction guaranteed. One of our Arborists can give you a comprehensive evaluation on all the trees and shrubs in your landscape and give you a scheduled maintenance plan. Call for an arborist consultation.



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Sacramento, CA 95826

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