Along the public right of way on Rossmore Avenue in Hancock Park, where urban foliage is rampant, unsightly tree stumps line the streets.
The city of Los Angeles cut the trees down years ago, but the city opted to provide only emergency tree operations since July 2011. Therefore, the stumps remain, offering a reminder of city services from year’s past.
The association is picking up where the city left off, hiring contractors to beautify the area by grinding up the stumps. The group has also been giving homeowners various trees to replace those that had fallen in Hancock Park.
“We’ve been working on that as we can,” said Cami Taylor, Hancock Park Homeowners Association board member.
Taylor said the group is hoping to retain the area’s wilderness appeal.
“It’s like a little green oasis in the middle of the city,” she said.
Why the trees are dying is unclear. Ron Lorenzen, assistant chief forester for the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks Urban Forestry Division, said Rossmore Avenue has had its fair share of tree issues, thanks in part to the abundance of American Elms in the area. Lorenzen said he wasn’t sure when the elms were planted, but they have become more fragile as they age in the urban area.
Lorenzen said the elm generally has a lifespan of more than 150 years. Though the city does have records of when the trees were planted, he estimated that they are 50 to 70 years old. While no formal research has been conducted, Lorenzen said he believes the urban environment becomes more hazardous for the trees as they age.
The elm trees are better suited for the East Coast; that, coupled with a fear of the Dutch Elm Disease, makes the tree relatively scarce among retailers in Southern California, he said.
Despite the policy change last year, the city still has a large list of service requests for stump removals, Lorenzen said.
“There’s quite a bit of a backlog, and has been for years,” he said, adding that the city is offering free permits for stump removal.
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