Sign Up Now to Get a Sidewalk Tree In Front of Your Bernal Home



Neighbor Phil Pierce live on Tompkins Street. By day he works as the community outreach coordinator for Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), the greentastic group that organizes sidewalk greenery plantings here in the City.

Neighbor Phil is spreading the word that Friends of the Urban Forest is planning a tree-planting in Bernal Heights, so if you want one in front of your house, you should sign up now:

FUF has green ($$) to make your block green!

Do you want to get a tree in front of your property?
We are coming to the Bernal Heights, and now is your chance to be a part of it!

Friends of the Urban Forest has funding to subsidize 75% of the costs to plant trees, with a Community Planting Day planned for June 14, 2014.

You only need to pay $135 and choose what species you want — then FUF will handle all of the prep work, remove the cement, provide the tree itself, and do three scheduled tree care visits over the first three years of the tree’s life to help it thrive!

For more information, visit the Bernal Heights page.
Contact, (415) 268-0772

Deadline for forms is 4/30

PHOTOS: Friends of the Urban Forest

26 thoughts on “Sign Up Now to Get a Sidewalk Tree In Front of Your Bernal Home

  1. yeah, plant a tree in front of your house so the City can put a sign on it later telling you you have to remove it at your expense and send its agents around to mark your sidewalk complaining that the roots have pushed the surface up and you have to remove old and pour new concrete.

  2. This is a truly wonderful thing that the city and Friends of the Urban Forest help make happen. Just be sure when you commit to your tree, that the trees you select are actually the kind that are delivered. Our view was bleak and bare on Folsom between Eugenia and Powhattan, so our entire block gladly signed up. We were told our choices and did the research, making our selections based on care, aesthetics and sustainability. The trees which were delivered were not what we’d requested but in the spirit of urban greening and community, we forged ahead.

    Now, more than 15 years later, our trees, our plumbing, our sidewalks and our circular arguments with the City underscore the importance of getting exactly what you sign on for, or at least close to it. Once they’re in the ground in front of your house, they are completely your responsibility.
    While our trees look beautiful, they drop fruits and leaves which exude an almost waterproof barrier of sticky sap on any cars parked beneath them and shed endless debris on the street, requiring constant sweeping and clean-up regularly. The root profile has caused buckling of the sidewalk pavements, for which owners are cited by the city, resulting in costly repairs and maintenance, to prevent any passers-by from tripping and falling and potentially bringing a lawsuit against the homeowner. Lastly, we have a sneaking suspicion that regular calls to DPW to clear the main sewage lines between the street and the houses on the upper part of the block are due to invasive root systems. This has happened so often, its hard not to think there’s a connection.

    So just be very specific and thorough. Do your homework. Maybe even get commitments and details in writing about what recourse there is if serious problems come up. Because no matter what, unless it’s force majeure, once your trees are planted, your only choices are to watch them grow and potentially wreak havoc on your little piece of paradise. We love our trees, but we wish they’d been bronze loquats and not strawberries!

    • Sorry you didn’t get the trees you wanted! FUF now plants only the tree that the property owner wants and has become much better at advising which trees are appropriate for each space.

      • you guys say that EVERY year. Every year you do this someone posts that it ruined their property and every year someone from FUF writes that “you don’t do that anymore”. Ugh. Hopefully one of these days someone will sue FUF and put them out of business.

    • I suspect that the varieties they allow to be planted are more limited than when you had the trees put in. We did this about four years ago and none of the options seemed to be ones that would drop anything other than leaves.

    • Hey Steve, did you actually read the Urban Releaf article? Its does not link ALL tree planting to gentrification, but rather talks about how the group behind the West Oakland Reforestation Plan (WORP), is of outsiders that aims to create a plan without any real stakeholders on board. Urban Releaf is a community-based tree planting organization that puts trees in the ground WITH the community, unlike the WORP group which appears to be top-down… That seems to be the actual thrust of the article.

    • Actually, if you want to promote the idea that trees bringing happiness and color to a neighborhood are only for boosting real estate prices, that’s your misanthropic call. I don’t need to read the links to know that. When we moved from a rental at Coleridge and Eugenia to our house on Folsom, our neighbors were- and many still are- residents for more than 25 years. We just like it green. The trees are something simple and life-affirming. The gentrification is something other entirely, though definitely a bonus when trying to rent one bedroom apartments and sell lightly transformed earthquake shacks for obscene amounts of money.

      Bottom line: if the city wanted to stop the unraveling of the fabric of our complex and beautiful tapestry of neighborhoods, they could. They are consciously choosing not to. There is something creepy about greed in the so-called name of progress. Insidious. The gentrification is happening because it can, those in power are allowing it and not convinced that its worth their while to stop it. They are failing to see what they will gain if they suppress it and instead, make a choice for preserving the qualities and characteristics of what makes San Francisco so special and unique.

      I left New York, more than 20 years ago, because I didn’t want to stick around and see the beginning of the end of New York as I, my parents, my grand-parents knew it. I wasn’t sure I could absorb the loss and the sadness. What did Chrissy Hynde once say: “I went back…but my city was gone…”

      I applaud FUF for their efforts and, as with everything, each time we do some good, we learn how to do it better next time.

      AN update to my initial comment: I spoke to a landscaper and contractor who told me that there actually can be recourse if the roots of a tree are potentially causing harm to city lines and pavement. He said they will make exceptions for the property owners and for a minimal fee may agree to remove the guilty culprit. He also advised that planting rules may have changed and one may not necessarily be able to plant a new tree in its place, depending on sidewalk width etc.

    • Yes. Removing a 3×3 square of cement and planting a tree there instead! FUF handles utility checks, cement removal and does 3 years of follow-up pruning

    • Yeah, when you sign up with them they take care of the permitting with the city as well as cutting out the portion of the sidewalk where the tree will go. Once planted the homeowner is responsible for keeping the tree alive, although they will come by to handle pruning for the first three years.

  3. This was the best thing Precita Ave has done. Not only is our street prettier, but it has fostered an increased sense of community.

    I highly recommend this program!

    Allison Boswell, RDCPro , CHS , CPFS , CSSS , SRES , ASP, CCIM Candidate Broker Realtor Bradley Real Estate Chairman’s Club The Art And Science Of Real Estate Direct: 415-987-3377

    Refer Someone You Care About To Someone You Trust

  4. Except when PG&E or whoever comes out and says there’s a gas line or something where you wanted them to plant, then all you’re left with is a bunch of spray paint markings forever. Not pretty.

  5. We did this last year and got a mini magnolia Little Gem to take the place of a FUF Hawthorne that fell over during a wind storm several years ago. Our little tree is flowering like crazy right now. Planting Day was loads of fun and FUF had volunteers broken into groups to tromp over the hill and plant the trees. I tend to agree with the poster about being careful since some of the day’s logistics were challenging w/r/t the trees and the sidewalks and the holes not always matching up. But they had so so so many trees for our hill! Plus, they put the $$ into the trees and not into a bunch of paid staff. It was a fun, productive and green thing to spend the day doing. My kid even got to do a bunch of digging. True, the sidewalk hassle can be a pain, but just think of your carbon footprint! Trees=oxygen=life! Plant a tree!

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