Climate Action Plan - Measure A-2.1

Increase Residential Tree Planting


This measure along with CAP Measure W-1.2 Reduce Outdoor Water Use will require two trees planted per new home built in the unincorporated county as well as strategies put in place onsite to minimize outdoor water use. 
  • 2030 Target: Plant 35,146 trees through new residential development
  • 2050 Target: Plant 28,202 trees through new residential development between 2031-2050

Where are we going?

By 2030, the County aims to plant 35,146 trees and an additional 28,202 trees between 2031-2050 at new residential developments in the unincorporated county. By 2020, the County’s Water Conservation in Landscaping Ordinance, Water Conservation Landscape Design Manual, and associated water use authorization application materials will be updated. The amended ordinance will require two trees for every new home built in the unincorporated county. Water conservation can be achieved by planting drought-tolerant and native trees, and prioritizing plantings in areas served by recycled and/or greywater infrastructure. Model homes in new residential development will include signage and educational materials on tree planting and carbon sequestration benefits.

How is this measured?

In preparing an amendment to the Water Conservation in Landscaping Ordinance, the County is developing data tracking and enforcement mechanisms to calculate greenhouse gas emissions reductions and ensure policy compliance after implementation. This measure only applies to new single-family residential subdivisions and single-family residential detached condominium projects.  Multi-family residential and single-family (non-tract) homes are not required to meet these increased tree planting requirements.

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 adding both habitat benefit and value to a home. Trees can reduce electricity use by providing shade and temperature regulation benefits for residents.

Why We Love Trees

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