Heritage Trees in Benicia

What is a Heritage Tree?

A heritage tree may be associated with important local or regional history, people, structures, or landscapes. Almost every tree that has been around for a while has some historical significance, whether it is recognized or not. Determining whether the historical significance of a given tree is sufficiently notable is therefore a subjective matter. Historic tree status is typically granted by a governing (e.g., city council) or advisory body (e.g., tree commission). Some ordinances automatically confer historic status on trees designated as historical landmarks by certain other organizations (e.g., historical societies). In addition, ordinances may assign special status to trees dedicated or planted as public memorials.

In Benicia, Heritage Trees are described in the City Tree Ordinance. The process defined in the Benicia ordinance for designating a heritage tree requires the express permission of the property owner. An application to begin the process can be located by clicking here. The Benicia Tree Foundation will be providing online resource pages for each heritage tree that is established.

Click here to view heritage trees in Benicia.

If you would like assistance in establishing a heritage tree in Benicia, please contact info@beniciatrees.org.

Anyone may nominate a tree for heritage tree designation. As described in the Tree & Street Trees Ordinance, Section 12.24.050 of the Benicia Municipal Code, candidates for designation as heritage trees may be nominated for review and recommendation to the Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Commission. The City shall notify the property owner of the nomination, upon the owner’s consent, the application to nominate will be processed. A City Arborist will inspect the nominated tree and produce a report that will be attached to the application and then submitted to the Parks, Recreation & Cemetery Commission for their approval and recommendation to the City Council. Upon resolution by the City Council, after holding a noticed public hearing, a tree may be designated a heritage tree if it meets at least one of the following criteria.

Heritage Tree Criteria:

1. Historical significance;

2. Over 30 inches in diameter measured 48 inches above the ground;

3. Unique or rare horticultural specimen;

4. Uniqueness of size of age;

5. Aesthetic value due to symmetry, form, color, or other qualities;

6. An outstanding specimen of a desirable species, especially native oak species;

7. Significance for habitat preservation, including where tree is one of a group of trees each dependant on the other for survival.