Plant on Your Own

Are you a motivated Citizen who would like to plant trees on your own or spearhead a tree-planting project working with the City of Los Angeles? We have listed some helpful information below as there are a few ways to go about getting FREE trees from the City.

LA Sanitation and City Plants can assist getting trees planted in your neighborhood. You can also plant trees yourself, but you will need to obtain the proper permits first, get the concrete cut (if this is needed), purchase a tree or trees, get them tagged by the City and then plant it/them on your own (which is totally doable).

LA Sanitation & Environment's Tree Planting Program 

Do you want street trees planted in front of your house or building? Do you have grass or dirt in the parkway, the space between the sidewalk and the curb? Will you commit to watering the trees until established, approximately 3-5 years? If so, LASAN will come to your building and plant free street trees for you.

All sites will be surveyed in advance to ensure eligibility. At the time of inspection, the inspector will select a tree species that is appropriate for the space and microclimate. The City of Los Angeles Tree Spacing Guidelines are followed to ensure that newly planted trees do not conflict with existing trees or nearby infrastructure like street lights, water meters, and power poles. If space permits, multiple trees will be planted. Please note that this program does not plant palm trees.

For more information please go to: and find "Trees" under "Sustainability Initiatives", email: or call (213) 485-3954.

City Plants


City Plants is a continuation of LA’s former tree-planting program, Million Trees LA. 

In 2010, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Trees for a Green LA Program was combined with Million Trees LA to make one unified tree planting program for the city. LADWP continues to support tree planting as an energy efficiency program and remains City Plants’ largest sponsor of citywide tree-planting efforts. Through this partnership, City Plants is able to provide free shade trees for residents and property owners in the City of LA, along with important information on where to plant those trees to maximize energy efficiency in homes or businesses.

For more information please go to: or call (213) 473-9950 

*Both of these City of LA programs provide "15 gallon-sized" trees. 

How Much Water Do New Trees Need?

Different trees need different amounts of water. But here are some general watering guidelines for a freshly planted 15-gallon tree:

If you created a berm around your tree, fill the basin created by it with water and let it soak into the ground. Continue to fill the basin with water until it has received about 15 gallons of water.

Watering schedule (15 gallons at each watering for a 15-gallon tree):

  • Month 1: twice a week
  • Months 2–3: once a week
  • Months 4–7: once every two weeks
  • Months 8–12: once every three to four weeks
  • Years 2–5: once every four to six weeks

However, always check the soil for moisture about four inches down before watering. If it’s really wet, don’t water, even though the schedule says to.

Water slowly. When water stops soaking in, the soil has become saturated and reached its water-holding capacity. You’re done with that watering session!

Cutting Your Own Concrete

Concrete cuts are a Class “A” Permit. You can obtain an "A" Permit at the Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering. It should run around $300. 

Bureau of Engineering
Construction Services Center
201 North Figueroa Street 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2601
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wed.)
"A" Permits 3rd Floor (213) 482-7030

This is what it looks like to cut tree wells on the sidewalk (work by Cal Pave).

Dig Alert 811 for Southern California


Buried utilities can exist just about anywhere on your property - hence the importance of checking with DigAlert before digging. You can prevent damage to underground utilities and avoid service interruptions simply by utilizing this online service DigAlert Express or calling 811 two (2) business days prior to starting your excavation. This is a 100% free service, and more importantly-it's the law.

Legally, the person who is doing the work must have a DigAlert in their name. If you hire a contractor, the responsibility is legally theirs for the notification - but it could actually be yours if stated in the fine print of the contract. However, it would be prudent as a property owner to also follow up with DigAlert just in case. If the contractor is negligent in this task and causes damage to buried utilities, you as the property owner could be found liable. This is a strong case of "better safe than sorry."

The law is crystal clear - start a ticket and get the utility lines marked before digging.


We recommend purchasing 24" box trees at A.Y Nursery Inc. in Riverside.

A.Y. Nursery Inc.
1600 Jefferson St.
Riverside, CA 92504 
Phone: (951) 780-2444
Fax: (951) 780-3050

Getting Your Trees Tagged On Your Own

In regards to tree tagging- The City has to tag all future street trees going into the ground with a yellow tag. If you are planting on your own – first you will go to the nursery to pick out your trees. Your trees must be acceptable to the City. It is possible to coordinate with the City to go tag the trees at the nursery. If not at the nursery, you must plan to do it before you plan on planting them. The City's Street Tree Inspector is Luis Torres.

Luis Torres
(213) 798-8690

Free Mulch Give-Away


The Free Mulch Give-Away program is available to all L.A. Residents.

The Bureau of Sanitation is "Closing The Loop" by providing free quality mulch in 11 different locations throughout the City of Los Angeles that are open to the public.

Instructions: Bring your own shovel, bag or pick-up; 
load up your own containers and take as much as you need.

If any locations run out of mulch or you want to know delivery schedule 
Please call the Lopez Canyon Environmental Center at (818) 485-0703

East L.A. (Council Office 14)
Address: 2649 E Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90023
Mulch Delivered to this Location: Wednesdays
Hours of operation: Fri-Sun 7:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
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