HomeCommunity NewsCity Offers Residents Rebates to Plant Trees on Property

City Offers Residents Rebates to Plant Trees on Property

The city is helping residents add a little more green to their properties, in an effort to preserve San Marino’s reputation for its ornate heritage trees that hover over its picturesque homes and neighborhoods.
Well, hopefully they’ll end up being more than a little green when all is said and done. Through the end of the fiscal year, the city is offering rebates for residents who buy and plant any of the designated heritage trees on their properties in town. Residents will have through June 15 to submit their rebate applications either through the mail or on the city’s website, and the trees must be planted within 15 days of purchase.
“I think it benefits everybody,” explained Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey, who earned the reputation of the “tree candidate” when she first ran for office in 2017. “The benefits of having new trees in front yards for future decades are going to be great for a lot of residents.
“Trees decline and houses are growing larger, so we need to keep putting in nice trees in the front that grow and add to the community,” the mayor continued. “Many of our trees are well over a hundred years old.”
Rebates are available for at least 15-gallon trees that cost a minimum of $50. For 24-inch boxes, the rebate is valued at $100, and for 36-inch boxes the rebate is $250. Trees should be planted in front yards if at all possible, but if the city deems it not possible, they may be planted in back yards. The trees should be at least 10 feet from the foundations of any building and not placed within any utility easements. If they are expected to be taller than 25 feet, they should be planted at least 20 feet away from overhead utility lines.
“It’s a little bit off, but it helps. Everybody can use it. The major catch is that we want this to be heritage trees,” Shepherd Romey said. “We were trying to make sure we were continuing with historic trees because it adds to the characters of our homes and keep consistent to the look of our neighborhoods.”
Planning and Building Director Aldo Cervantes said the program is not designed explicitly for tree replacement, but to incentivize the addition of new trees to properties. The city’s urban forester, Sammy Estrada, can help residents determine where trees can best be planted on their properties, Cervantes added.
“We have a lot of very old housing in the city and it’s safe to say that when that housing stock was developed, they also had a landscaping plan with it,” Cervantes said. “You have to assume that they planted these trees that are now fully mature and some of them are probably 80 to 100 years old.”
Shepherd Romey added that in San Marino’s earliest days, when Henry Huntington and William Hertrich were plotting out the city’s first neighborhoods, planners took care to theme sections of town by their trees and other details. Many of these themes hold up today, more than a century later.
“To keep that beauty and keep that plan, I think that’s really great,” she said.
For more information on the heritage tree program, including a list of species and the rebate form, visit the city’s website, cityofsanmarino.org, and select the “Heritage Tree Rebate Program” tab on the homepage.


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