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Tree Permits

COVID-19 PROCEDURE: The Public Works Department will adhere to a remote access protocol and is closed to interpersonal public contact effective March 18, 2020. To continue the provision of services while protecting the health of customers and employees staff will work remotely to process your tree permit.

Please view our Remote Procedures document These have been updated as of May 1, 2020, to adhere with the latest shelter-in-place order.

Visit the COVID-19 page for additional updates, information and resources.

The City of Pacific Grove contributes to the welfare and aesthetic qualities of the community through rules and regulations relating to planting, care, maintenance and removal of trees in public and private areas. The Public Forestry Division has the responsibility to safeguard trees from unauthorized trimming or removal. Please read the following information carefully to determine whether or not you are required to obtain a Tree Permit. If you are uncertain as to whether or not you need a permit, please contact the City at (831) 760-0602.

Except in an emergency, a permit is required to substantially prune or remove any tree, regardless of health condition, that meets the following criteria:
  1. Gowen cypress, regardless of size.
  2. Coast live oak, Monterey cypress, Shore pine, Torrey pine, and Monterey pine 6 inches or greater in trunk diameter, measured at 54 inches above natural grade.
  3. All other private trees, regardless of species, 12 inches or greater in trunk diameter, measured at 54 inches above natural grade.
  4. All trees in or within 100 yards of designated Monarch sanctuaries. (Pruning and removal of trees within the Monarch sanctuaries is prohibited between October 1 and May 1)
  5. All street trees, regardless of size.
  6. All trees on public property 6 inches or greater in trunk diameter, measured at 54 inches above native grade
NOTE: Please contact the Planning Department at (831) 648-3190 to determine permit requirement if tree pruning and removal is associated with development and if the property is in the Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) – the Asilomar Dunes neighborhood – as a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) may be required.
Substantial Pruning applies to both above-surface and underground cutting or removal of the following:
  • Removal of more than 25 percent of the live branches of the entire Tree within a 12-month period
  • Removal of any live limb with a diameter of 6 inches or greater or a circumference of 19 inches or greater at any point on such limb.
  • Removal of any root 4 inches or greater in diameter.
Applicants may apply online (encouraged) or complete and submit this application form. Both the property owner and applicant must sign the application form and submit the following items for consideration by the City:
  • FEES: $158 for single tree removal/trimming and $29 for each additional tree removal/trimming. Please make checks payable to the City of Pacific Grove and submit with your application. Credit/debit card payments are subject to additional processing fees.
  • COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS of trees proposed for removal (depicting reason for requested removal).
  • MARKING TREES: All trees requested for removal must be marked with a bright fluorescent ribbon around the trunk of the tree.
  • ARBORIST REPORT: A Certified Arborist report is typically required for any request to remove a live tree and when condition or viability of the tree(s) or its impact to property is not readily evident. If you already have a report, you may include it with your submission. Otherwise, the City Arborist after reviewing your application may require you to submit a report from an independent Certified Arborist.
  • TREE REPLANT REQUIREMENT: Each tree removed must be replaced with a minimum one 5-gallon tree from the same tree canopy group. Applicants must replant trees within 60 days of tree removal and must send photo confirmation to the City. Failure to comply with the replant requirements and deadline, applicants will be required to pay in-lieu fees in accordance with the Fee Schedule (currently $790). The site plan on the application form must clearly indicate tree replants and types.
  • CITY BUSINESS AND STATE LICENSES: All tree service contractors providing tree care services in Pacific Grove must hold a valid business license with the City of Pacific Grove, a current California state contractor’s license, a D49 classification, and sufficient liability insurance; be bonded; and participate in the state’s workers’ compensation program.
  • PERMITTED WORK HOURS AND NOISE LIMITS: Tree service contractors and property owners must adhere to the following construction hours unless otherwise approved by the City: 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Saturday and 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sundays
Diameter at breast height, or DBH, is the standard for measuring trees. DBH refers to the tree diameter measured at 4.5 feet above the ground. DBH can be measured as follows using a string, a measuring tape, a thumb tack, and a calculator:
  1. With the measuring tape, measure 4.5 feet up the trunk of the tree from the ground. Use a thumb tack to mark the height on the tree.
  2. Wrap your string around the tree trunk at 4.5 feet. Make sure the string is straight and tight around the trunk, and mark or cut the circumference on the string.
  3. Measure the length of string to get the circumference of the tree.
  4. Convert the circumference measurement to diameter by dividing the circumference by pi (3.14).
For measuring DBH of single trunk trees and trees with an angle or on slop, please see figures below:

For multi-stemmed trees, the size is determined by measuring all the trunks, and then adding the total diameter of the largest trunk to one-half the diameter of each additional trunk (see figure below). A multi-stemmed tree has trunks that are connected above the ground and does not include individual trees growing close together or from a common root stock that do not have trunks connected above the ground.