Question Time: Who Must Tend a Leaning Tree?

En Español.

At a recent city meeting, Mission Loc@l ran into a reader with a question: What can be done about trees that lean too much?

It was the first time we had ever been asked that question. We said we weren’t sure, but we’d do our best to find out.

The reader recently followed up, with photos. All the trees depicted were, he says:

…not planted correctly, nor were they correctly maintained over on Mission St. in the South of Cesar Chavez Area (SoCha), by Bernal Heights.

With many of the trees that are leaning over in that area, in my opinion, it tends to make the street look neglected and in a blighted condition.

Or at the least, being careful not to overstate this, it does not serve its intended purpose of enhancing the street and the neighborhood. 

Does the Department of Public Works care about such things? Turns out, it does. It says that stakes that are supposed to support the tree upright sometimes allow for too much movement. The consequence: The tree will lean as it grows, and the lean becomes permanent.

Who’s responsible?

It depends on where the tree is. DPW doesn’t service all street trees; sometimes property owners are responsible. The city must tend to the trees on Cesar Chavez and Mission Street.

Got a question about who is the boss of a particular tree? Visit DPW’s website here.

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