• FOUR COMMON TREE TRIMMING MISTAKES

    Trees in our yard are part of a larger landscape and ecosystem that cleans and cools our air, reduces noise, provides privacy, food and habitat for wildlife, and purifies our water – All very vital services in an environment of rapid urbanization and global warming. DON’T TURN OUR VALUABLE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESTS INTO LEGAL, AESTHETIC, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITIES. 1. Topping: This is usually one of the most common and ugly of tree trimming mistakes. Topping involves cutting away a large section of the top of a tree’s crown, or all the leafing branches across the top of the tree. What you’re left with is a very ugly deformed tree with a severely…

  • The City Gives Up on Its Troublesome Trees. They’re Your Problem Now.

    In the City of Los Angeles, a tree planted in the parkway in front of a home doesn’t entirely belong to anyone. The homeowner is not allowed to remove it or even trim it in a manner the city deems improper, but is responsible for maintaining it and is legally on the hook if it wrecks the sidewalk or sewer pipes or topples onto people and things. If deprived of water, trees tend to become diseased and unstable. If what’s around them is ground as hard as concrete or actual concrete, their roots disrupt pavement and sewer lines, which explains the predominance of broken sidewalks and pipes throughout the city.…

  • Fighting Wildfires with Brush Clearance? You’re Doing It Wrong

    We’re losing homes in wildfires because wind-blown flames from miles away are landing on flammable rooftops, not because of over-grown vegetation. We need to stop blaming fires on plants. Every spring as birds and wildlife are nesting, Angelenos living in beautiful hillside communities receive notices from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) with stringent landscape-clearing instructions that were put in place in 1961. Hillside homeowners have to keep clear 200-feet of property around them, referred to as “defensible space”.  Angelenos have not been clearing defensible space of incendiary brush so much as they have been over-cutting, over-pruning or removing landscape plants and trees that would keep the ground cool and moist. This…

  • Saving LA’s Trees May Mean Saving Its Yards

    Most efforts to expand LA City’s tree canopy – and thus strengthen the urban environment – have focused on planting street trees. Yet the majority of the trees of America’s second largest city grow around its bungalows, cottages, mansions, and ramblers. It is in residential yards that about 80% of the city’s trees are located: more than 5 million in these private landscapes compared to about 700,000 street trees and 150,000 to 300,000 park trees. That’s one of the key findings from a recent report commissioned by City Plants, a nonprofit that works with city departments to plant public  trees. This is important because a study by USC scientists saw that most of…

  • The Replacement Tree Myth

    In response to cutting down trees for development and sidewalk repairs the City of Los Angeles has a policy of planting two trees for every one street tree cut down and four trees for every protected tree cut down. Planting trees is both good and essential in order to keep the urban forest healthy. But it is insufficient, in and of itself. This perception that planting two or more trees for every mature tree cut down replaces the mature tree, or perhaps even doubles it, is wrong. In fact, the City’s tree replacement policy may ironically create a smaller and less effective urban forest in the future. Planting a sapling only…