Urban Forestry

Green 1 transparent Trees are vital assets to a community. They improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitat. Similarly, healthy and robust green infrastructure systems can mitigate the urban heat island effect, lower building energy use, provide natural stormwater management, and improve local air quality.  

Tree City USA 

For the past 38 years, the City of La Mesa has earned the designation of a Tree City USA. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. La Mesa achieves Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Grow the Urban Tree Canopy

The City has multiple programs to support the growth of our urban tree canopy in public spaces. Are you interested in ways you can support the growth of our urban forest at your home? Check out the resources below for more info.

  • In preparation for future tree plantings, if you are a La Mesa resident interested in a free tree along the public right-of-way whose property frontage meets certain requirements, please fill out the Tree Interest Form.  
  • Explore the best fruit trees for San Diego County.
  • Plant trees that will thrive in La Mesa’s beautiful climate. Talk with your local nursery and review a La Mesa-specific tree guide for more info.
  • Trees still need adequate water during droughts and our dry months.

La Mesa Community Forestry Project

Facilitating the development of the urban tree canopy and vibrant green spaces is an important goal for the City of La Mesa. Trees improve air quality, beautify communities, and offer protection during those hot summer days. The City recently received a grant from the Cal Fire to help expand La Mesa’s urban forest, and the City will undertake the following activities over the next two years as a result of this funding:

  • Develop an Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) to guide efforts over the next 50 years;  
  • Public Feedback for the draft UFMP is available from September 1-30.  Fill out the form here
  • Plant 350 trees in the right of way throughout the City;
  • Update the City tree inventory;
  • Assess the tree canopy;
  • Evaluate and update the City tree ordinance and other policies;
  • Educate and engage the community with community partners to inform the development of an Urban Forestry Management Plan; and  
  • Provide opportunities for the public to learn about how to plant and maintain healthy trees.

The City maintains approximately ten thousand trees across the City! About 6,700 of those trees are “street trees,” or trees that occupy the right of way. To kick-off the plan development, during the the fourth quarter of 2019, representatives from West Coast Arborists logged information on height, health, location and other data points for each City tree to inform the Community Forestry Plan.

The Urban Forestry Management Plan supports La Mesa’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which establishes a community-wide goal to cut emissions in half, and grow La Mesa’s tree canopy by 15% by 2035. The Plan will help make La Mesa and its trees even more beautiful and healthy for years to come.

La Mesa Community Forestry project partners include:

Park and Rec logotree-sd-logoUC of SD county logo Green HIGH RES

WCA logoLa Mesa Beautiful Logo


City Programs

The City of La Mesa’s Give-A-Tree Program is a formal tree donation program to grow La Mesa’s tree canopy. Donors deposit $200 into the Give-A-Tree account through the Finance Division at City Hall. Then details such as the type of tree, location, time and date of planting are established in partnership with the Park Department. A plaque is engraved with the name of the person for whom the tree was planted and added to the Give-A-Tree Plaque which hangs at City Hall. Please call 619.667.1450 for more information.

City Documents and References