Explore options before removing trees on Crescent Heights
Re “Trees to be removed on Crescent Heights,” July 28 issue
Despite the existence of numerous alternatives to retaining street trees employed by other cities, the only alternatives to tree removal our Urban Forestry Division considers under the city’s Sidewalk Repair Program is a root pruning approach for retaining trees that disqualifies most of the mature street trees in the city, according to International Society of Arboriculture best management practices.
But if the adjacent property owners want to keep their street trees, they can. That’s because they actually own those trees.
According the city, “whoever owns the fee title in the parking or parkway owns the trees that grow thereon, which are a part of the realty, subject to the power to remove or regulate their growth when necessary to the enjoyment of the street for purposes of travel” (City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services 2008).
The problem here is that the city does not provide watering or care for the trees it plants after three years, except pruning when funding allows, and most property owners don’t want to be personally responsible for watering and routine maintenance of trees the city plants. The lack of care is why our street trees tend to be short-lived and why we have a lot of tree sidewalk conflicts.
The affected homeowners should now focus their efforts on the replacement trees. Make sure the city plants the largest native tree species possible because we need native trees for birds and biodiversity.
Our local native trees are the most appropriate trees for our climate and extended droughts, yet only 3% of our street trees are native right now. Our native trees also pretty much like to be left alone after three years, which makes them the perfect choice for a city that doesn’t want to care for trees.