Caring for Tree Canopy is a Community-Wide Effort
Community Meeting Aug. 25 Addresses City Tree Canopy
Those familiar with its tree canopy, know that the City of South Pasadena has long been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.
How long exactly?
Proudly, City of South Pasadena officials will tell you 17 years, saying the benefits of a robust urban forest include cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, and increased property values.
Caring for our trees takes a year round, community-wide effort. No matter how old your trees are, or what size, caring for them can be easy if you follow some basic rules.
In order to help keep your trees alive and healthy, there are some key factors to consider. First is watering, which should be changed depending on the age of the tree and the time of the year. Second is maintenance. Trimming your tree and caring for the ground beneath it are both important for tree health. Lastly is observation. It is important to take note of what condition a tree is in. If a tree is under or over watered, stressed, diseased, aging or dying, there will be signs. This can include the appearance of the trunk, leaf color, and more.
Observation is also important to maintaining trees in medians and parkways. It is the resident’s responsibility to water parkways trees adjacent to their property, but it is the City’s responsibility to maintain and trim those trees. We need residents to be our eyes on the street, and should any issues arise with the parkway trees, please submit a service request to the Public Works Department.
How should I water?
The amount of water your tree should receive depends upon the tree size. A general rule of thumb is to use approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter for each watering. General formula: Tree Diameter x 5 minutes = Total Watering Time. All size trees should be watered April through September, but young trees should also receive adequate water during the winter months if rainfall is scarce.
•Water once or twice a month for established trees, and more frequently for younger trees.
•Water slowly for hours with a “tree ring”, tree watering stakes, or coil a soaker hose around the drip-line of the tree (the outer canopy of the leaves).
•Infrequent slow waterings are much better than multiple shallow waterings because they allow the water to seep down deeper into the roots.
•Place 3 to 4 inches of mulch under the tree, keeping the mulch 6 inches from the trunk.
•When planting a new tree, create a moat at the drip-line to hold the water and reduce runoff (adjust the placement of the moat as the tree grows).
Under our current water restrictions, irrigation systems designed to water turf do not sufficiently water your trees. During the drought, trees should be given a higher priority than lawns. Lawns can be replaced in a matter of months whereas a 20 year old tree will take 20 years to replace.
What should I look for?
Symptoms of drought injury to trees can appear suddenly, or may take up to two years to be revealed. Drought injury symptoms on tree leaves include wilting, curling at the edges, and yellowing.
•Leaves of deciduous trees may develop sun scorch, which causes brown leaf edges or browning between veins.
•Evergreen needles may turn yellow or brown, usually starting at the tips of the needles.
•During extended drought, leaves may be smaller than normal, drop prematurely or remain attached to the tree even though they’ve turned brown.
•Drought stress may not kill a tree outright, but it may contribute to serious secondary insect and disease infestations in following years.
When should I trim my trees?
The City operates on a four year cycle when it comes to trimming its trees; however some trees are visited more frequently depending on their condition, specie and location. This means Trees, FROM PAGE 1 that once a tree is trimmed, it won’t be trimmed again for four years. Residents should consult with a contractor and/or arborist to establish an appropriate maintenance schedule for their trees. As a tree grows its trimming needs will change, so be sure to reassess your maintenance schedule based on your trees’ growth.
To ensure proper tree health in oak trees, residents are only allowed to trim them from July through October. Prior to trimming an oak or California native tree in South Pasadena, residents must submit a completed application to the Public Work’s Department to obtain a trimming permit. A permit is also required for the removal of any trees. More information and both applications are available in the Public Works Office at City Hall, 1414 Mission St., or on the City’s website, www.southpasadenaca. gov.
What is the status of the trees in South Pasadena medians and parkways?
Many of South Pasadena’s trees are in the later stages of their life cycle which requires more pruning, removal, and eventually replacement.
Currently this maintenance is funded through Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District assessments. While the maintenance cost has risen, the City has not increased the assessment rate since 1996.
The City invites residents to a presentation regarding the City forestry, street lighting, traffic signals and median landscaping. The City is in the process of updating the Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District which funds the operation and maintenance of all these items.
A community meeting will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 6:30 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers, 1424 Mission Street. This meeting will provide information regarding the function of the District, as well as the proposed assessment updates. Residents are encouraged to attend to learn about the assessment update and to provide your input before the report is presented to the City Council for further consideration.
Jenna Shimmin is the City of South Pasadena’s senior management analyst for water conservation and environmental programs