Friends of the Urban Forest has a “Replacement Tree” program to replant street trees in empty tree basins (open squares cut out of cement sidewalks).
Our replacement program is appropriate for you if the tree basin adjacent to your property is empty, stump free, and ready to be planted. Please be aware that not all empty basins comply with current city code. If a basin is not up to code or conflicts with utility infrastructure, Friends of the Urban Forest will not be able to plant. You can find city street planting requirements at this link.
If you have questions after reading the information below, please contact Kieva by phone at 415-268-0772 or by email with our contact form.
I have a stump or dead tree in the basin
The basin needs to be planting-ready before you apply for a replacement tree. If the basin has a small tree, you may be able to remove it yourself. If the basin has a tree or stump older than 3 years, you have two options for removal.
- Submit a Tree Maintenance Request to SF311, the City’s “customer service center,” free of charge. Wait time is 1 – 1.5 years.
- Submit an Application for Tree Removal and privately contract the removal with an arborist. More information on tree removal permits can be found on the city’s webpage. Cost is a $400 permit plus the cost of the removal service. Wait time is 2 – 3 months.
- Part of the tree removal process is a utility check. If there are any utility conflicts, FUF may not be able to plant in the basin. Please ensure that your basin meets the general and minimum requirements listed on the Department of Public Works’ website.
- All stumps must be ground out 2 feet below sidewalk grade in order for us to replant the site.
I have an empty basin
To get started and sign up for a free site visit, please fill out a FUF Tree Planting Request once the basin is empty and ready to be planted. Before FUF conducts a site visit, the basin must be free of any stumps, dead trees, and plants. All barriers and structures including fences and paver stones should be removed from the area that will be planted.
I filled out the forms. What happens next?
If we have an upcoming community planting in your neighborhood, we will include you.
If not, we will schedule your tree planting separately. Our Replacement Tree Planting Manager has a tree planting queue of 10- 12 months. You will be contacted within the month we are ready to plant your tree. Once we determine that your basin is compliant with current city code and does not conflict with utilities, we will contact you to recommend tree species for your site. We appreciate your patience.
Our Urban Tree Species Directory contains images and descriptions of the trees you see around the City. San Francisco has many unique microclimates, and not all trees thrive in every neighborhood. Our replacement manager will provide 2-3 expert recommendations for your site based on environmental conditions and existing utility infrastructure.
Watering your tree
Unless otherwise notified, you are responsible for watering your tree once a week for the next three years. Your tree will come with a water bag, which you should fill up once a week for the next three years.
Learn more about watering: fuf.net/watering