La Cañada Flintridge is a "Tree City USA.” The City Council has adopted Chapter 11.40 regarding the “Preservation, Protection and Removal of Trees.” Its stated purpose is: “…to preserve and protect the trees that are of historic or aesthetic importance, and to provide for the protection and replacement of trees in order to maintain the community’s wooded character; protect the scenic beauty of the area; reduce erosion of top soil…and to address fire concerns by discouraging the planting of…highly flammable trees. The intent is to preserve and encourage the regeneration of a healthy urban forest ….”To see a pamphlet please click here.

On private property, no native oak, sycamore, deodar cedar, Chinese elm or California pepper tree with a trunk measuring twelve (12) inches or more in diameter (as measured at a point four feet from the ground surface at the natural grade) shall be removed or extensively trimmed without a tree removal permit issued by the Planning Division of the Community Development Department. Where a tree trunk is divided below four feet above grade, the diameter of all trunks (as measured four feet from the natural grade) shall be summed to determine tree diameter. Topping of protected trees is PROHIBITED. There are a limited number of reasons for granting a tree removal permit. These limitations are contained within Chapter 11.40 of the Municipal Code . Any of the protected species with a diameter of 36 inches or larger are considered Heritage trees and will require additional environmental review.

Trees and shrubs in the "public right-of-way" are regulated by a different Chapter: 4.24 of the Municipal Code . Due to the rural nature of many of the streets in the City, it is sometimes difficult to know what is public right-of-way and what is private property. Before any work is done to a tree, please check with the Public Works Department to determine whether it is on public or private property.

Only City-licensed commercial tree services are permitted to trim protected trees on single-family residential property and any city owned tree, regardless of species or size, on non-residential property. The only exception is that a residential property owner may trim a protected tree on their property provided that the property owner does all the work. Requirements for city licensing include: 1) proof of certification with the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture; 2) proof of possession of a state contractor's license (C61/D49 Tree Contractor); or 3) attend city-approved tree pruning classes and demonstrate knowledge of pruning techniques by passing a written exam. Residents should be sure that any company they hire complies with these regulations. A list of approved arborists is here.