Friday, February 23, 2007

Love our tree-lined streets in Encino Village? Want to keep them beautiful? Read on...

The beautiful 40-foot-plus trees that line Aldea and turn beautiful shades of gold and red in the fall/winter are called Liquid Ambers (aka Sweet Gum.) Now I have no idea exactly how old those trees are, but I'm guessing they are in the 40-50 year-old range. Liquid Ambers have a lifespan of about 60 years. This means that in another 10-20 years we might not have that beautiful fall foliage unless we do something now. And Aldea isn't the only street in Encino Village with mature trees that are all the same age....Wish and Graves also have beautiful mature tree canopies. Not only are trees beautiful to look at, and therefore increase the value of our neighborhood, but they serve many other purposes including keeping our streets cooler, cleaning the air, blocking wind and/or rain, providing homes for squirrels and birds, etc.

What can we do? Plant more trees of course...but the trick is it can't be done all at once. In order to ensure a beautiful tree canopy trees need to be planted at regular intervals so that there are always young, mature and old trees around so that as the old ones die they are replaced, etc. As one can see from Aldea, pretty much all we have are mature trees there, and what we need is some variety in age. So if you live on Aldea, Wish or Graves and your curb doesn't have a tree, consider planting one. Even if you don't live on those streets, it's never a bad time to plant a tree. There is a free service offered by the City of Los Angeles and they even offer Liquid Ambers. It's super easy to do and it took us less than 3-weeks to receive our tree. By the way, the service I am talking about is different then the free service offered by DWP. Street Trees plants trees on curb medians, DWP gives you trees to plant on your property (residential or commercial.)

1: Call them (
800.996.CITY) and tell them what tree you want based on their available trees
2: They come out and mark on your curb where they can plant the tree (there are strict rules about where they will plant the tree - must be 5-feet from driveway, 10-feet from property line) so unless you live on a corner lot, there is probably only one place they'll plant a tree
3: Unless you tell them otherwise, they'll plant the tree shortly thereafter

If you decide to plant a tree yourself, make sure it is at least a 15-gallon tree because trees smaller than that have a hard time surviving on the curbs.
And remember, that if you are planting trees on or around your property, try to vary their ages or plant trees over a number of years to ensure a variety of ages and you will always have a beautiful mature tree to look at.

Maintaining an urban forest takes work. This issue of too many mature trees that are all the same age in Los Angeles is a big one. There have been many articles about how Los Angeles' skyline will be changing in the next 15-20 years as many palm trees come to the end of their natural lives. Do your part to keep LA's urban forest intact.

Posted by EVHA member and Encino Village resident Alegre of