53067. (a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(1) That trees and other woody plants respond in specific and
predictable ways to pruning and other maintenance practices.
(2) That careful scientific studies indicate that arboriculture
practices including, but not limited to, "topping" are often
misunderstood and misapplied.
(3) That the results of the 1988 California urban forestry survey
prepared by Plant Science and Research for the California Department
of Forestry and Fire Protection's Urban Forestry Program summarizes
that an estimated 5.9 million street trees are managed by California
cities of which approximately 30 percent of the cities and 20
counties do not have tree ordinances of any kind. That in 1988 an
estimated one hundred nine million dollars ($109,000,000) statewide
was spent on municipal tree maintenance, less than 1 percent of most
city and county budgets, with an average of sixteen dollars and 82
cents ($16.82) per street and park tree per year and an average of
four dollars and 68 cents ($4.68) per resident per year. California'
s city governments support urban forestry. Support for tree programs
is highest in communities where citizens are involved.
Conclusions of the urban forestry survey state that most cities
need an aggressive tree planting program to maintain tree densities
at current levels, to keep pace with urban growth, increase species
diversity, maintain the health and vigor of their trees, and put more
effort into long-term master planning of urban forests. To derive
the maximum ecological benefit from the urban forest, the current
trend towards planting smaller trees will need to be reversed.
Counties lag far behind cities in urban forestry efforts. Most tree
programs need to put greater emphasis on educating the public on the
benefits the urban forest provides. A healthy flourishing urban
forest cannot be developed and maintained without foresight, proper
care, and good management.
(4) That the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Guidelines for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances 1991
publications states that an ordinance shall be developed for the
purpose of prohibiting topping of public and private trees. Topping
is the practice of cutting back large diameter branches of a mature
tree to stubs and is a particularly destructive pruning practice. It
is stressful to mature trees, and may result in reduced vigor,
decline, or even death of trees. In addition, new branches that form
below the cuts are only weakly attached to the tree and are in
danger of splitting out. Topped trees require constant maintenance
to prevent this from happening and it is often impossible to restore
the structure of the tree crown after topping. Unfortunately many
people believe that topping is a proper way to prune a tree, and this
destructive practice is prevalent in some communities.
(5) That in an effort to promote practices that encourage the
preservation of tree structure, and public safety and health, these
standards developed through careful scientific studies by leading
industry consultants, United States Department of Forestry
scientists, and professors of horticulture and plant pathology, are
recognized standards by the Department of Parks and Recreation,
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, University of
California Co-operative Extension Farm advisers, the National
Arborist Association, the International Society of Arboriculture,
American Forestry Association, and numerous tree planting and
preservation organizations throughout the state and nation.
(6) That those standards are working guidelines, recognizing that
trees are individually unique in form and structure and that their
pruning or maintenance needs may not always fit strict rules.
(7) That the International Society of Arboriculture founded in
1924 with over 21 chapters throughout the world publishes the monthly
Journal of Arboriculture which is devoted to the dissemination of
knowledge in the science and art of growing and maintaining shade and
ornamental trees. The Journal of Arboriculture, March 1988, Volume
14, No. 3, page 76, states that properly trimmed trees not only
require less manhours on their next cycle but some may not even need
trimming. This conclusion was based on a study performed at Delmarva
Power in Maryland during the 1982-84 trim cycles. Results indicate
a 25 percent reduction in work force and a 7.4 percent reduction in
costs in the first three years.
(8) That the use of proper tree maintenance techniques benefits
the public because of reduced costs, reduced hazards, reduced public
liability, protection from premature decline or death (conserving
energy reducing carbon dioxide and ozone, absorbing particulate
matter, producing more oxygen by increasing canopy spread, reduction
in wind speed, reducing noise pollution, increasing real property
values, enhancing visual and aesthetic qualities that attract
visitors and businesses, serve as a source of community image and
pride by providing maximum shade and canopy cover). As canopy cover
increases the public benefits increase.
(9) (A) The Legislature's findings recognize that topping of trees
is a widespread misunderstood consumer request and this form of
pruning detracts from public benefits including, but not limited to,
safety and property values, and causes premature decline, death,
disease, insects, woodrot, and increased maintenance costs. These
findings also recognize that a great number of personnel performing
maintenance on trees unknowingly and unintentionally produce
(B) The Legislature finds that nonregulated commercial tree
service firms that advertise topping are widespread among commercial
advertising including the yellow pages, but not limited to newspaper
advertising, and that millions of dollars have been spent topping
trees including publicly owned trees.
(C) The Legislature finds that modern techniques utilized by
certified arborists through scientific study and continued education
are of value and benefit to the citizens of California and to all who
care for our resources.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection through Sections 4799.06
to 4799.12, inclusive, of the Public Resources Code, shall to the
extent possible, furnish to every public agency, including the state,
but not limited to, a city and county, school district, or community
college district copies of these publications as listed: Western
Chapter International Society of Arboriculture Pruning Standards,
California Department of Parks and Recreation specifications for
pruning trees, and National Arborist Association Standards of pruning
Reference: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html;click Government Code and enter 53067 in search box. Click on search result item. When document appears,scroll down to code section 53067.