Make Your House More Glamorous With a New Tree Out Front


You know what you need? You need a tree in front of your house. Actually, what you really really need someone to come to your house and plant a tree for you!

The green thumbs at Friends of the Urban Forest will do just that, but to get in on the deal, you have to fill out two forms and submit them by May 7.

FUF’s Phil Pierce tells Bernalwood:

I am the outreach coordinator at Friends of the Urban Forest and we are preparing for our upcoming community planting in Bernal Heights.

It is scheduled for June 8th and will cover both sides of the hill. Our goal is to plant 50 trees on June 8th and would love your help in spreading the word to interested residents and businesses. So far we have around 25 commitments and a week left to get all the forms in from people who want in.

Get in! The forms you need are right here. Additional details are below:


14 thoughts on “Make Your House More Glamorous With a New Tree Out Front

    • Bernal Heights definitely need more trees! Especially where there are paved over front yards [hope the owners have the proper permits or they could get fined].

  1. Keep in mind possible liability issues if you plant tress on your property:

    The ficus trees in front of Bernard Schweigert’s house are a mess. The roots are cracking the sidewalk (the city did $2,400 worth of repairs last year), and the sewer and gas lines are threatened.
    “And now they are starting to uplift my front stairs,” Schweigert said.
    The really bad news was that Schweigert had seen flyers around his Hayes Valley neighborhood saying that the city was no longer responsible for the maintenance of trees in front of houses. It was up to the homeowner.
    He dutifully went online to find what he thought was a good solution, paid someone $570 to prune his trees and waited for a city representative to thank him.
    Sure enough, the city reached out. Schweigert was told he was guilty of improper pruning and had incurred a fine of $1,715 per tree – $3,430.
    Although it was infuriating, Schweigert has one consolation: He’s not alone.
    Two years ago, San Francisco began turning over responsibility for sidewalk tree care to residents to save money. So far, 3,669 trees have been transferred to homeowners. And while it may have saved roughly $600,000, it created the wild west of tree trimming.

    Read more:

    • It’s true that under current city policy, property owners are responsible for maintaining their trees. Friends of the Urban Forest believes the city should maintain trees, and is working with the city to find a dedicated funding source to make that possible.

      In the meantime, it’s still a good idea for property owners to plant trees, because they increase property values (, beautify the neighborhood, calm traffic and are good for the environment.

      Friends of the Urban Forest helps property owners choose the right species for the site, in order to maximize benefits and minimize the possibility of problems like the ones described in the Chronicle article. FUF no longer plants ficus trees due to their tendency to damage sidewalks. And FUF’s website has a list of certified arborists, who know how to prune trees properly (the pruning job described in the Chronicle article appears to have been done by a non-professional).

  2. I helped out with FUF a few times and then I learned that everything Judge Crater says is true. One of the results is that suddenly trees are getting poisoned in the dead of night because that’s the only way to deal with trees that are causing havoc in neighborhoods. I can cite several situation in the Noe Valley and Castro areas where improper trees were chosen that wrecked sidewalks and sewers, but yet the city wouldn’t take any responsibility. Gradually the trees began to die off from mysterious circumstances.

  3. The pros of having trees planted is that it improves/upgrades the neighborhood. Take a look at before/after pics of Bocana St in Bernal Heights on the FUF website. Beautiful change. Entire blocks in SF have no trees; making the area look blighted & rundown. Frankly, it is depressing to look at sidewalks with no trees, paved over front yards.

    • Agreed, Pamela! I would love to see the before and after pix of Bocana, and can’t locate them on the FUF website. Can you post a link please?

  4. Topographic reality excludes some of us from having trees in front of our homes, unfortunately. I had this issue when I bought my home many years ago. It is on a steep slope of the hill, and drainage from the trees in front of the house made it’s way into my basement, ultimately requiring some very costly foundation work. We wound up installing large above-ground planters which solved the issue. I’d love to have a tree again, though.

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