The Balboa Park Conservancy is working with Tree San Diego to conduct a tree inventory for Balboa Park and is seeking a qualified contractor to provide services in support of this initiative.

Balboa Park is one of California’s most significant and iconic landscapes, with legendary designers such as Samuel Parsons Jr. and John Charles Olmsted designing its lavish horticultural palette. An essential element of transforming an undeveloped, scrub-filled mesa into an exotic green oasis was the planting of hundreds of trees across the park’s original 1,400 acres. Examples of the park’s heritage tree collection include a giant Moreton Bay fig, well over a century old and one of the largest in the state of California; Ficus sycomorus, Sycamore Fig dating to 1915 located behind the Botanical Building, and the Agathis australis, Kauri Pine which may be the most unique tree in Balboa Park.  

The park has a tradition of citizen-led urban forestry that continues to this day with the annual Arbor Day celebration, in which community volunteers with Friends of Balboa Park plant trees in the park. Given its abundant historical tree plantings and the vital role that trees play in framing historic landscapes, it is critical that the park’s tree inventory be updated. The last full inventory was undertaken in 1989, but not kept up to date, and drought, disease, and time have taken a toll on the park’s tree canopy. An updated inventory is vitally important to manage this significant horticultural resource, ensuring that all trees that are aesthetic and horticultural treasures are managed for best growth, and that replenishment is implemented appropriately to not only retain heritage trees but to enhance the park’s value as an urban arboretum.

The tree inventory is an essential step in expanding and diversifying Balboa Park’s tree canopy as well as helping fulfill the City’s Urban Tree Canopy, Climate Action and Urban Forestry plans, whose stated goals are “giving San Diego a resilient, world-class urban forest.” The tree inventory will also serve as the basis for training a corps of volunteer Tree Stewards via Tree San Diego to monitor and help maintain the park’s tree collection.

The Balboa Park Tree Inventory will be used for the following purposes:

  • Documenting and interpreting the vast diversity, heritage and ornamental value of the current tree collection.
  • Educating the public about Balboa Park’s heritage tree collection through signage, brochures, docent-led tours, an app identifying individual trees, and website content.
  • Planning for the replacement of missing trees with trees that are best adapted to changing growing conditions in San Diego.
  • Planning for tree replacement to help reestablish historic and ornamental landscape patterns.
  • Planning for tree replacement to increase Balboa Park’s role in urban forestry.
  • Informing the budget planning process for the removal, pruning, and replacement of trees.

The park contains approximately 16,000 trees in three regions. The Project is currently being executed in three phases. Phase 1 will be the WEST MESA. Phase 2 will be the EAST MESA. Phase 3 will be the CENTRAL MESA.

See the following RFP for the full description and map of the project site.

BPC 2017 TREE-Inventory RFP-3.9.2017Final


Request for Proposal announcement –March 9th, 2017

Contractor RFP Question Deadline 3:00 pm — March 13th, 2017

Request for Proposal submittal due by 4:00pm to BPC–March 17, 2017

Award of Contract — April 1-15, 2017

Inventory Completion Target Date — August 1, 2017

Please send all questions and correspondence to Jackie Higgins at