South Palo Alto Tree Initiative

Let’s work together to increase the tree canopy cover in south Palo Alto

The problem: South Palo Alto has 22% less tree canopy cover than north Palo Alto

In 2011, as part of developing the Palo Alto Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP), UC Davis researchers conducted a comprehensive canopy cover analysis for the City of Palo Alto. The resulting report identified that, for Palo Alto’s 17 predominantly residential neighborhoods, north Palo Alto has approximately 22% more tree canopy than south Palo Alto. Furthermore, that gap has only widened in recent decades. In 1982, north Palo Alto had 11% more tree canopy cover than south Palo Alto. In less than thirty years, the disparity has doubled. Community feedback confirmed that this ongoing gap in tree cover is an important issue, and addressing it is a major priority in the UFMP, and for the City and Canopy.

The solution: Plant more trees, and prevent tree canopy loss

In 2016 Canopy conducted an in-depth analysis, identifying the underlying reasons for this disparity, gathering community feedback, and recommending strategies to restore canopy equity. Our recommended goal for the city is to increase tree canopy cover by 8% over the next 10 to 15 years through a combination of planting new trees and preserving existing trees.

You can help!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

– Chinese proverb

Preserve and care for trees

To prevent tree canopy loss, we need to step up advocacy efforts towards tree preservation and spread the word about proper tree care. Collaborating with residents and the City of Palo Alto, we’ll offer tree care tips and urban forest education, encourage and facilitate public workshops, and promote long-range planning that preserves and expands urban trees and nature throughout Palo Alto.

Plant new trees

Let’s plant together! Community engagement is key to achieve south Palo Alto canopy cover goals. We’re eager to partner with community groups, neighborhood associations, and individual tree champions to plant new trees in schools, parks, neighborhoods, and even private property.

There are many empty spaces for street and yard trees we want to fill.

Want to sign up for a tree or organize a tree planting in your neighborhood? Fill out the form below or find out more by contacting Elise Willis, Community Forestry Program Manager, at

During the South Palo Alto Tree Initiative, volunteers:

  • Spread the word about the initiative through tablings and events.
  • Organize or participate in neighborhood tree plantings.
  • Steward trees through tree care work days in parks, schools, and neighborhoods.
  • Advocate for more tree plantings and preservation by reaching out to your representatives.

Links to learn more:

Growing the Tree Canopy in South Palo Alto: Goals and Strategies

South Palo Alto Tree Canopy Community Survey results

South Palo Alto Tree Request Form

Sign up for local tree news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Sign Up