How To: Get a Tree Planted On Your Sidewalk

How To: Get a Tree Planted On Your Sidewalk

Trent Johnson
Apr 24, 2009

It's easy enough to plant a tree if you own your home, but for those in the city, it's hard to know where to even start. Instructables provides a step-by-step guide to getting a tree planted in your sidewalk (even if you rent) in the city of San Francisco...

Warning: This can be an involved process!

There are two options: Go through the city permitting process, planting and maintenance yourself or utilize the Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), a SF non-profit that does most of the work for you.

This Instructables walks you through the more difficult of the two options, DIY!


  • To live in San Francisco

  • A phone or e-mail

  • $165 (fee changes, but this is the current cost)

  • Piece of chalk

  • Food or drink to bring to the potluck

  • A willingness to water your tree weekly

Here are the basic steps: (Visit Instructables for the details!)

  1. Call or e-mail Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF). To kick off the planting, you can call the FUF office at 415-561-6890, extension 101 to talk to a human.
  2. Fill out the form and coordinate with other tree-planters-to-be in your neighborhood. If you're a renter, you'll need to get the signature of your landlord on the forms.
  3. Attend your neighborhood pre-planting meeting to pick your tree and coordinate logistics. Six weeks before your planting day, FUF will arrange a neighborhood meeting with all of the people who are set to plant. Definitely go to this meeting.
  4. Prep your sidewalk. A few weeks before your planting date, you will be asked to mark your desired tree location on the sidewalk with chalk. They will then have the underground service company…
  5. It's the day you've been dreaming of: planting day. Dress for mess. You'll watch a FUF staff member demonstrate how to plant a tree and then you'll actually put the tree in.
  6. Once your tree is firmly in the ground, you should wash your hands and kick back with your neighbors.
  7. Maintain your tree: Now that you have a tree, you have to maintain it. Use FUF's Web site for tips.

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