Based on the master design set by John McLaren and George Howard Jr., San Mateo Park is home to over 2,700 public trees.
 

Island Trees

Street Trees

Both illustrations courtesy of Michael Dern.

What you need to know about our trees:

PLANTING The City is planting again in the public landscape, after a long moratorium. The new Managing Arborist’s emphasis, citywide, has been on planting street trees in open sites. SMPNA identified all of the open spaces along our streets that could be appropriate planting locations. We contacted homeowners at those locations, seeking endorsement for planting in their public right of way. The City requires this notification because homeowners are expected to “adopt” their street trees and water them. SMPNA supplements the watering of these young trees during the dry season, in a partnership effort with homeowners.        

* More than 50 new trees grace our streets and islands.

MAINTENANCE All of the Park’s street trees are planned for routine maintenance during the next fiscal year beginning in July. Maintenance includes deadwood removal and pruning for structural health. Island trees will be included at that time or in the following year.

* This will be the first comprehensive tree maintenance program the City has conducted here in decades: your property taxes at work!

REMOVAL The drought has taken its toll and we continue to see trees fail. SMPNA maintains a list with the City of dead street and island trees. If they are not an imminent hazard, the City removes these trees in batches under citywide contracts, which often results in some delay. Typically, stumps are not taken out until just before replacement trees are planted.

* If you have a dead street tree, let us know: we will make sure it is on the City’s list.

WATERING We continue our annual summer watering program for street and island trees planted within the last3 – 5 years. The drought has required extended support, especially for island trees not watered by homeowners. We will have up to 105 trees on supplemental water this year at a cost of approx $13,000. We also may provide water boosts for some large island trees that are showing signs of distress.

* Residents are responsible for watering their own street trees.


When is a tree telling us it needs water?

* If the leaves on your street tree are limp or starting to turn brown, the tree needs immediate water.

* A new tree is like a potted plant: if the top inch or two of the soil around the tree is dry and hard, it’s time to water.

* A good watering program is an investment that more than pays off in trees that grow more quickly, develop good form, and increase property values.

Watering Methods:  

* Leave a hose running slowly enough that water does not run away from tree — for about 45 minutes.

* Attach a hose to a probe (these are inexpensive and readily available at Home Depot and elsewhere) and water in a few places around the drip line of the tree.

* Build a berm of dirt around the tree and fill the well with water 3x until each fill of water drains.