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Tree Protection & Tree Removal

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Every tree on both public and private property is an important part of Cupertino's urban forest and contributes significant economic, environmental and aesthetic benefits to our community.

The Public Works Department, Trees Division is responsible for planting and maintaining about 13,000 park trees and street trees in the public right-of-way. These trees are tagged with yellow and green plastic plastic cards which provide information about each tree. If any of these trees need maintenance or removal, please call 408-777-3410. Do not plant, prune, or remove trees in the public right-of-way. Please notify the Trees Division if the tree is damaged, dead or hazardous.

Trees must be protected during construction, and tree management plans are encouraged.

The City of Cupertino has also designated certain classes of trees on private property in all zoning districts as Protected Trees which can only be removed after obtaining approval through the tree removal permitting process.

 Protected Trees
 Heritage Trees designated for special aesthetic, cultural or historical value or significance
 Specimen Trees of the species listed below with either a minimum single trunk diameter of 12 inches (38 inch circumference) or a minimum multi-trunk diameter of 24 inches (75 inch circumference) measured 4.5 feet above ground level
 Scientific Name  Common Name
 Aesculus californica  California Buckeye
 Acer macrophyllum  Big Leaf Maple
 Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'  Blue Atlas Cedar
 Cedrus deodara  Deodar Cedar
 Platanus racemosa  Western Sycamore
 Quercus  Native Oak trees, including the following:
   Quercus agrifolia  Coast Live Oak
   Quercus douglasii  Blue Oak
   Quercus kelloggii  California Black Oak
   Quercus lobata  Valley Oak
   Quercus wislizenii  Interior Live Oak
 Umbellularia californica  California Bay Laurel
 Required Trees - any tree required to be planted or retained as part of an approved development application, building permit, tree removal permit or code enforcement action
 Privacy Protection Trees - any tree required to be planted or retained as part of privacy protection landscaping


Read the Protected Tree Ordinance for more information.

Use this Tree Removal Form to apply for a tree removal. Public noticing is required for tree removal applications.

See the current tree removal permit and retroactive tree removal permit fees in the Planning Fee Schedule here.

It is much less expensive to apply for a tree permit before removing a protected tree is than the retroactive permit fee after you have removed one.

In addition to the permit fees, you may also be responsible for the cost to purchase, plant and maintain replacement tree(s) or for an in-lieu tree replacement fee.

If you believe you can not plant the replacement trees that are required as part of  mitigation, please ask your planner about in-lieu fees.

You may apply for a Tree Management Plan in order to plan for the anticipated growth and eventual removal of trees on a site to prevent overcrowding.

What to plant?

The Selectree website has a database of trees that can be used to find the right tree for your property.