Emergency Tree Care

Two smiling women holding tools in front of a street tree

Karen and Nicole in the Silver Terrace neighborhood, September 2005.

During the first five years after we’ve planted a street tree, if the property owner notifies us that the tree has fallen or is leaning or otherwise requires emergency care, we dispatch a trained volunteer who lives nearby, or direct the caller to additional resources.

To report a small fallen or leaning street tree, please contact Blake Watkins by phone at 415-268-0774 or by email with our contact form. We can only upright small trees, meaning their trunks are 2 inches or less in diameter and/or they’re no more than 15 feet high. Our average response time is a few days to a week.

For emergencies involving trees maintained by the city, or for hazards such as a tree on a power line, call the city at 311. The Department of Public Works’ website shows which streets and blocks have trees maintained by the city.

For assistance with other trees, consider calling a professional arborist.

Tips to save your small tree after a stormA small street tree that's leaning over

If you want to upright your own tree and secure it with stakes, you can obtain stakes from Friends of the Urban Forest, and borrow a stake pounder from us; call our Tree Care staff at 415-268-0774. Stakes and stake pounders are also available from Ewing Irrigation, 415-695-9530, or the Urban Farmer, 415-661-2204.

Until your tree can be uprighted, move it off the sidewalk as much as possible; the city has the authority to remove a tree that is obstructing the path of travel. Keep the exposed roots covered and moist.

Water the tree after it has been uprighted to prevent shock. Continue watering on a regular basis to encourage new root growth.

For larger storm damage, see the Arbor Day Foundation’s Storm Recovery resources.

Prevent your next emergency call

Prevent tree emergencies by checking your tree’s hardware periodically and making sure the tree is pruned on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the next storm to hire an arborist (they’ll all be very busy then). See our Stakes, Ties & Fencing and Pruning pages for details.

Become an emergency tree care volunteer

We always need more emergency tree care volunteers! See our Volunteer page to find out how you can help.

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