Monday, September 21, 2015

Red Car Property: Protected Native Trees Cut Down In August

Photo: Diane Edawrdson, September 12, 2015.  In August, someone cut down one or more protected native California Black Walnut Trees on the slope of the Red Car Property, below Lake View Ave.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Rather than remove them, they just dragged them down to the base of the slope where now as they dry out, they're a fire hazard.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 20, 2015.  While many of the native Black Walnuts throughout the region are not looking good, they are not necessarily dead.  They are drought adapted, having evolved to survive our extreme weather conditions.  Their root systems are very deep and help hold the hillsides together when it does rain.

Prior to July brush clearance and after the rain in July as well as last week, they are all sprouting new leaves at the base of the trunk, and closer to the trunk on the branches.  

Worth noting in the above photo: the grass is growing in the shade of the trees. The tree's removal from the slope above, now means there's a barren slope that fries in the sun.  It will be more difficult for young trees and vegetation to gain a foothold there.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, August, 24, 2015.  The stump is just downslope of the power lines, which would place it on the Red Car Property.  This is the same general area where a blown transformer sparked a fire last October.  

California Black Walnuts and Coast Live Oaks do not burn as easily as non-native Eucalyptus and pine trees. They also regenerate after a fire.  They are the two most common protected native trees in our neighborhood.  The City of Los Angeles Protected Native Tree Ordinance also covers all native species of oak, California Sycamore and California Bay.  You must obtain a permit prior to removing any of the protected trees, even if they are dead.  Refer to the City's Dept of Urban Forestry (link below) for more information.

Because the extreme drought has weakened so many trees of all species, it is advisable to consult a certified arborist before butchering cutting down your trees.  Large trees add value to your home and neighborhood, as well as reduce the cost of cooling your home.  

A year ago, a neighbor consulted a certified arborist to help save some of her very large trees. Faced with cutting the trees down and exposing her house to blistering sun and and an up-close view of the 5 Freeway, she chose the long term investment in her trees.  It was worth treating the bug infestation and spending more on her water bill, as advised, to keep her trees alive. Today her trees are looking pretty good.

Trees also clean pollutants from the air, storing carbon and water in the soil.  Ask anyone who's had to take down large dead trees (even the Eucalyptus) from their yard recently - they'll tell you how quickly the area well beyond the drip line became a dust bowl. 

City of LA Protected Native Tree Ordinance
City of LA Community Forest Advisory Committee
City of LA Urban Forest Division (Bureau of Street Services)