Heritage tree replacements

The overall goal of the heritage tree ordinance’s replacement requirement is to ensure continued canopy cover is maintained or increased. Ideally, the replacement tree(s) should:
  • Replace the removed canopy cover in a period of approximately 15 to 20 years;
  • Reach a mature height of at least 35 feet; and
  • Be a California native.
Cal Poly's SelecTree tree selection guide is a great resource; otherwise below are some some examples of replacement tree species that meet the criteria listed above.

​Nondevelopment-related tree replacements

If the primary removal reason is either Criterion 1: Death, 2: Tree risk rating, 3: Tree health rating, or 4: Species, the monetary value of a replacement tree correlates with the size of the heritage tree trunk diameter (measured from 54 inches above grade).

For every heritage tree proposed for removal, it must be replaced by the following replacement tree requirement as outlined in the table below. For example, any heritage tree with a trunk diameter of greater than 15 inches to 20 inches has a minimum replacement tree requirement of one (1) #15 container. The monetary value is $200.

Trunk diameter Replacement requirement Monetary value
10 to 15 inches (only applies to oak) One (1) #5 container $100 
Greater than 15 to 20 inches One (1) #15 container $200
Greater than 20 to 30 inches One (1) 24-inch tree box $400
Greater than 30 to 40 inches
One (1) 36-inch tree box $1,200
Greater than 40 to 50 inches One (1) 48-inch tree box $5,000
Greater than 50 inches One (1) 60-inch tree box $7,000

Applicants shall submit written statements or landscape plans to describe how they will fulfill the replacement tree requirements. The submissions shall include: (a) the replacement tree species, (b) the container size, (c) the planting location, and (d) an in lieu fee payment, if applicable. The spacing between the replacement trees should be 25 feet.

​Development-related tree replacements

If the removal reason is either Criterion 5: Development or Criterion 6: Utility Inference, applicants may use the following monetary value of the replacement trees to help design their landscape plans for development-related removals:
  • One (1) #5 container – $100
  • One (1) #15 container – $200
  • One (1) 24-inch tree box – $400
  • One (1) 36-inch tree box – $1,200
  • One (1) 48-inch tree box – $5,000
  • One (1) 60-inch tree box – $7,000
The spacing requirement between each replacement tree should be 25 feet, regardless of the container size. To be eligible for the in lieu fee, applicants must explain why the value of the replacement trees are not equal to the appraised value of the removed heritage trees.

​Replacement tree species

Below are some examples of acceptable tree replacement species. Under Municipal Code Section 13.24.090(1), an approved replacement tree list is not provided as site conditions are unknown and will vary from each property. A specified list also limits species diversity. It is recommended that assistance of a certified arborist be sought prior to selecting a tree and planting location.

Deciduous trees (lose their leaves in winter)

  • Accolade elm (Ulmus ‘Morton’)
  • Black oak (Quercus kellogii)
  • Black walnut (Juglans hindsii)
  • Blue oak (Quercus douglasii)
  • California sycamore (Platanus racemose)
  • Chinese flame (Koelreuteria bipinnata)
  • Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis)
  • Chinese tallow (Triadica sebiferum)
  • Engelmann oak (Quercus engelmannii)
  • Forest green oak/Hungarian oak (Quercus frainetto 'Forest Green')
  • Frontier elm (Ulmus carpinfolia x parvifolia ‘Frontier’)
  • Japanese pagoda (Styphnolobium japonicum)
  • Kentucky coffee (Gymnocladus dioicus 'Espresso', 'Prairie Titan')
  • Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
  • Rotundiloba sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua 'Rotundiloba')
  • Shademaster locust (Gleditsia triancanthos var. inermis ‘Shademaster’)
  • Silver linden (Tilia tomentosa)
  • Texas red oak (Quercus buckleyi)
  • Valley oak (Quercus lobata)
  • Western catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

Evergreen trees (retain their leaves in the winter)

  • African fern pine (Afrocarpus gracilior)
  • Arizona cypress (Hesperocyparis arizonica)
  • Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
  • Avocado tree (Persea Americana)
  • Brisbane box (Lophostemon confertus)
  • Cajeput tree (Melaluca quinquenervia)
  • California bay laurel (Umbellaria californica)
  • Camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora)
  • Canary island pine (Pinus canariensis)
  • Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua)
  • Catalina ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus)
  • Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia)
  • Cork oak (Quercus suber)
  • Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)
  • Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)
  • Island oak (Quercus tomentella)
  • Lemon-scented gum (Corymbia citriodora)
  • Peruvian pepper (Schinus molle)
  • Red flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia)
  • Saratoga laurel (Laurus nobilis 'Saratoga')
  • Silk oak (Grevillea robusta)
  • Silver leaf oak (Quercus hypoleucoides)
  • Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata)
  • Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana)