Trees in Curtis Park: Be aware of low branches on neighborhood walks

While the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many at home, it has encouraged more daily walks and visits to the park. The neighborhood’s trees make it possible to take a stroll even when the mercury rises above 95 degrees. Getting outdoors helps improve physical and mental health.

Homeowners should be aware of the vegetation in front of their home and if it impairs pedestrians walking down your block. The city code requires that trees provide an 8-foot clearance above any sidewalk and a 14-foot clearance above any street or alley.

On my walks around the neighborhood, many of the low branches I encounter over the sidewalk are from young trees that have been in the ground less than 10 years.

Is the tree located in the park strip between the curb and sidewalk? Then the city should be contacted to take care of the situation or issue a permit.

On some streets without a park strip, the tree adjacent to the sidewalk may be within the street right-of-way and therefore maintained by the city.

Email [email protected] to report low limbs or find out if you have a city-maintained tree.

When a limb or downed tree blocks the street or sidewalk, call 311 for an immediate response to abate the hazard, regardless of whether it’s a city or private tree.

Low branches from the trees on your property can be addressed with hand loppers or a pole pruner.

Not sure how to prune? The International Society of Arboriculture site,, has a “Tree Owner’s Manual” that can be downloaded. You can also visit the Sacramento Tree Foundation’s site,, and click on tree care to access “Growing Beautiful, Safe and Healthy Trees.”

Senior citizens or those with disabilities can contact me for assistance at 916 451-1033.

Shrubs or plant material can slightly encroach over the sidewalk, but there must be at least a 3-footwide clearance for the path of travel.

Keeping the public sidewalk free of low branches, encroaching shrubs and plants makes for an enjoyable stroll in the neighborhood.

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