Friends of the Urban Forest to Launch Large-Scale Tree Planting in the Excelsior

Five hundred new street trees will be planted in San Francisco’s Excelsior, Outer Mission, and Crocker Amazon neighborhoods on Saturday, August 26, thanks to a joint effort by Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) and San Francisco Public Works.

This will be the largest number of street trees planted in San Francisco in a single day in recent decades, and possibly in history. Crews led by Public Works will plant approximately 340 street trees, and crews led by FUF will plant approximately 160 street trees.

This is the first planting for Street Tree SF, a program that leverages new funding, policies, and data to plant and care for the best urban forest possible for all San Franciscans. Public Works manages the program in partnership with FUF and with the participation of other green-minded organizations, businesses, and individuals.

Thanks to voter approval of Proposition E last November, the city is responsible for maintaining all street trees and repairing any damage they cause to public sidewalks. The owners of homes and businesses adjacent to the trees planted on August 26 will bear no costs for the trees, and will benefit from the increased property values associated with them.

Street Tree SF has targeted the area in an effort to spread the benefits of street trees more equitably throughout San Francisco’s neighborhoods. According to the San Francisco Planning Department, only 10.3% of the Excelsior is covered by trees, while the city average is 13.7%. Supervisor Ahsha Safai, whose district includes the Excelsior, secured city funds for the planting.

“Like all San Franciscans, Excelsior residents should have clean air, healthy trees and safe sidewalks,” said Dan Flanagan, executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest and chair of the San Francisco Urban Forestry Council. “This planting will improve the quality of life in the Excelsior for decades to come.”

TPG, the global alternative asset firm, sponsored FUF to support this planting.

“We’re proud of the great work Dan and his colleagues at FUF do every day to make San Francisco a greener, healthier and safer city,” said John Flynn, Vice President of TPG and member of FUF’s board of directors. “Our new Street Tree SF partnership presents an incredible opportunity to transform the urban forest of San Francisco.”

FUF also received generous support for this planting from Ropes & Gray LLP.

Public Works and FUF will have separate planting zones and separate teams of volunteers for the August 26 planting. FUF’s team will gather at Excelsior Playground at 579 Madrid Street. A brief kickoff program will occur at 9:30 a.m. featuring Flanagan, Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru, Bureau of Urban Forestry Superintendent Carla Short, and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai.

A variety of species will be planted, including Bronze Loquat (Eriobotrya deflexa), Fernleaf Catalina Ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus asplenifolius), and Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora).

Though San Francisco is one of the least leafy major cities in the U.S., the U.S. Forest Service estimates that its trees annually provide the city with environmental benefits worth more than $9 million.