Parkway Trees

This policy establishes guidelines and procedures needed to provide for the care, maintenance, removal, replacement, protection, and reforestation of parkway trees in order to promote the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life for all City residents, businesses, and visitors.

The property owner owns the parkway tree and is responsible for its watering and maintenance, as well as removal of weeds and debris from around the tree. The City controls only the right-of-way between the curb and private property line for street, sidewalk, and utility purposes, but does not own the land. The City does, however, trim the parkway trees only for the purpose of maintaining the appropriate clearance for pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

The City’s Tree Program provides a number of tree services through the City’s Landscape Division and private contractor(s). These services include scheduled and unscheduled trimming, root pruning, removal, replacement, reforestation, inspection, pest control, and emergency response within the public right-of-way.

City and contractor personnel receive continual training in tree trimming/pruning, removal, planting, and pest control practices utilizing Best Management Practices (BMP) in accordance with the Department of Pesticide Regulation. The City’s Tree Foreman is a certified arborist and the City’s Tree Trimmers are certified Tree Workers. Many of the contractor’s employees are also certified arborists and/or certified tree workers.

The City’s Tree Maintenance, Removal, and Reforestation Policy create the following goals:
  • Establish and maintain an optimal number of trees through proper inspection, maintenance, trimming/pruning, removal, replacement, and reforestation.
  • Maintain trees in a safe and healthy condition through good arboricultural practices.
  • Establish and maintain an optimal level of age and species diversity.
  • Promote conservation of tree resources.
  • Provide reforestation of parkway trees.
  • Provide suitable locations for and select, situate, and maintain trees to minimize hazard, nuisance, hard-scape damage, and maintenance costs, with special consideration given to compatibility in commercial areas with regard to aesthetics and signage visibility.
  • Centralize tree management under one department to ensure the consistent enforcement of policies.
  • Foster citizen support for the City’s Tree Program and encourage good tree management on privately owned properties through public education.
One of the conditions of approval for the development and construction of residential tracts within the City was a requirement to plant a minimum of one parkway tree in front of every residential address. As part of the City’s dedication to maintaining a safe and healthy urban forest, the City annually budgets for reforestation through the Tree Program. The number of trees planted per year may vary depending upon the budget and/or success in securing tree planting grants.

Number of Trees
Sustaining a City tree population with a minimum density of 95% will create a desirable level of tree population density and contribute to an optimal number of trees. The number of trees planted per year may be accelerated by expanding the budget and/or successfully pursuing tree planting grants. An optimal number of trees will be further achieved by planting City approved tree species from the City’s Authorized Tree List (PDF) that provide the greatest canopy spread the tree site can accommodate. Approved species will be compatible with the area in which they are planted and will not have root structures that are invasive or otherwise damaging to public/private facilities, such as curbs, gutters, sidewalks, driveways, water/sewer laterals, and roadways. Obtaining the optimal number of trees will also provide the highest level of economic, environmental, and sociological benefits to the residents of Fountain Valley.

Planting for reforestation of the City is another element of the Tree Program that is necessary to fill vacant sites and to replace tree removals. The City shall decide what species/variety of tree to plant from the City’s Authorized Tree List and will replace the tree as the City determines necessary.

The benefits for properly maintained and healthy parkway trees include:
  • Reduction of surface temperatures
  • Reduced soil erosion and runoff
  • Release of oxygen into the atmosphere
  • Absorption of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
  • Increased neighborhood aesthetics, integral part of the street scene
  • Provision of habitats for natural urban species
Parkway trees can become hazardous to pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic, as well as cause damage to water/sewer laterals, curbs, gutters, roadways, driveways, and sidewalks. In such cases, property owners may request, or City staff may recommend, removal of an unacceptable or undesirable parkway tree. The City’s Tree Foreman will evaluate the condition of the tree in relationship to its surroundings and may make a recommendation that the tree be removed and replaced with a more compatible species from the City’s Authorized Tree List.