Climate Action Plan - Measure A-2.2

 County Tree Planting


The County of San Diego’s Department of Parks and Recreation initiated a tree planting program with a goal to plant a minimum of 3,500 trees annually at County parks and open space preserves. County tree planting enriches local ecosystems, supports biodiversity, provides shade, prevents soil erosion, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, and buffers against wind and noise. 
  • 2020 Target: Plant 14,000 trees in the unincorporated county
  • 2030 Target: Plant a total of 49,000 trees in the unincorporated county

Trees Planted in County Parks

How are we doing?

Since 2014, the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has planted 13,930 trees at County parks and open space preserves. In 2018, DPR planted 8,269 trees, over twice as many as our annual target of 3,500 trees per year! Park by park, the County plants trees within parks and preserves to grow a stronger, heartier tree canopy. In November 2018, the County partnered with a local school to plant over 2,000 trees at Oakoasis County Preserve including native oak, sycamore, cottonwood, and willow to replace trees lost to the Cedar Fire.

How is this measured?

The Department of Parks and Recreation tracks the number of trees planted on County park lands each year. The County tracks the species variety, number of trees planted, and park location. To meet our goal, the County must plant 3,500 trees each year.

Why is this important?

During photosynthesis plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it to oxygen and carbon-based plant matter, storing carbon in the soil. As part of the natural carbon cycle, trees store significant amounts of carbon because of their size and longevity while also providing habitat, clean air, beauty, shade, and contributing to community wellbeing. Trees draw greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere to sequester carbon within the tree roots, wood, leaves, and soil. As the tree grows, it continues to absorb more carbon.

Where are we going?

By 2030, the County aims to plant 49,000 trees and an additional 70,000 tress between 2031-2050. To analyze canopy coverage in the unincorporated county, the County will conduct a Tree Canopy Assessment by 2025. Trees will be planted at parks that have suffered the largest loss to their tree canopies due to prolonged drought and spread of invasive species, such as the Goldspotted Oak Borer which only attacks oak trees. Specifically, these parks include the Dos Picos County Park in Ramona, San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff, and William Heise County Park in Julian. As part of a larger comprehensive tree program, the County catalogs existing trees and establishes requirements for maintaining tree density and diversity in all County parks.
Planting a variety of trees including native species makes parks less susceptible to disease and supports local plants and animals living in distinctive ecosystems. For every tree that falls or is lost to disease or fire, the County replaces it at a 3 to 1 ratio to ensure a flourishing tree canopy over time.

Want to learn more?

Students Give Life to Oakoasis County Preserve
Ask an Expert:
Planting for the Future
Why We Love Trees

Trees provide shade, home for creatures, oxygen for us to breathe and so much more!

Why We Love Trees