What We Do
Modesto’s Forestry Division takes care of the City’s extensive urban forest. This includes all of the
City’s street and park trees, as well as the trees outside government buildings. Our staff are highly
trained, and have had decades of experience in tree care. We are proud to have one of the highest ratios
in California of ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborists. Many of our Arborists
have additional ISA Certifications in specialized areas such as Tree Risk Assessment and Municipal Tree Care.
Trees are maintained on a regular cycle. Work crews go through the neighborhoods on a block-by-block
basis, making sure that all trees are inspected and pruned if necessary. The current cycle is around 11
years; however, recent Council approval of staffing increases should reduce this cycle to 8 years by the end
A special crew responds to requests to trim branches away from buildings, sidewalks, traffic signs and
signals, and to make sure drivers have a clear view of traffic at cross streets. This crew also handles
emergency calls about fallen trees and branches.
Mistletoe is a problem for Modesto’s trees, and if it is not promptly removed, it spreads from tree
to tree, weakens the tree, and can kill trees that are stressed from other factors. In March 2015, the
Council approved $352,000 in special funding for mistletoe removal. A special crew has targeted areas
where this plant parasite is a significant problem.
Nursery/Tree Planting Program
The Forestry Division also runs the City’s Tree Nursery at 7001 Jennings Road. Specially selected
varieties of replacement trees are grown at the Nursery. This facility has a greenhouse for propagating
cuttings, and can produce around 5,000 trees per year. The City has a very aggressive replanting program
underway, with a goal of replanting 2,500 trees per year until the City’s tree inventory is completely
In 2015, the City received a $326,940 “Green Trees For the Golden State” tree replanting grant from
the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). This grant will fund the planting
of 5,000 additional trees over the next several years, and is part of the State of California’s Greenhouse
Gas Reduction programs mandated by AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Trees are a living public asset and provide unique environmental and aesthetic benefits to every neighborhood.
However, at some point in a tree’s life cycle, it may die or require removal due to risk factors. Modesto
makes every effort to preserve trees. When a tree is removed, it is removed entirely and replaced in most
instances. Root cutting/shaving is another service the Forestry Division offers. This service is provided to
reduce the risk from above ground roots or deeper roots that may potentially cause damage to public and private
When trees reach the end of their life cycle and have to be removed, Forestry workers use a coordinated
approach to get the job done safely and efficiently. The attached fast pace video shows the process and illustrates
each step that is taken in the removal of a dead tree.
Click Here for Video of tree removal
Modesto maintains a database of its 81,000 street and park trees. This database records planting and maintenance
of every City tree. The City is in the process of updating its tree inventory and Urban Forest Management Plan,
and is working with state agencies on this effort. The tree inventory and Management Plan are used to schedule
maintenance and to track the City’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Contact the Forestry Division at (209) 342-2253.