WANTED: visionary property owners who want to improve our communities

The biggest challenge in getting a planting project off the ground  is in identifying the property owners who have the foresight to understand what an asset trees are to the community. Nothing can happen without their green light, and without their promise to water for the first several years. In many cases, the owner manages the property from afar– finding them requires detective work and a lot of persistence.

Today, I was so thrilled to make phone contact with a property owner I’ve been trying to talk to for years– and even more thrilled that he seemed amenable to taking care of trees on his property. Though he had been planning to pave over the grass on his median strip to reduce maintenance, he was open to the idea of leaving the required treewell area unpaved so the new trees will thrive. His property is situated at the bottom of a gentle hill. I’m hoping his trees will benefit from underground moisture.

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California sycamores are the best!

What a great photo Plant a Wish posted on their website! Also, some nice shots of Marcos Trinidad from TreePeople in their trailer.

Plant A Wish

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With a plastic bucket in hand…

I feel like a dork in my ratty pajamas and ill-fitting clogs, walking down the street with an empty plastic bucket. I keep the bucket in my car exactly for occasions like this—when I happen to have an extra five minutes to water a newly planted tree.

Two of the Mexican Plane trees on York  have never done quite as well as their cohorts elsewhere on the street. The ones closer to the car wash are stunningly tall, lush, and green, looking so mature beyond their two years in the ground.

Yet these two trees have almost died at least once each year. So every couple of months or so, I give them a couple buckets of water, and that seems to make a world of difference.

I hope that after several years, their roots will be deep enough to tap into underground sources of moisture, enabling them to weather the hot summers with little attention from us. But they will need a little extra help until then…

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We made it!

So pleased to report that all but one of the 26 trees have survived their first brutally hot summer!

You can even get a good look at them in Google maps satellite view! (They don’t show up in street view yet). For an online map of planted locations, click here.

One casualty, due to confusion about the watering schedule, will be replanted this winter. Three trees suffered from vandalism soon after planting, but have enthusiastically recovered over the summer. This winter, they will be pruned to correct their structure.

Tree planting day is always a fun and photogenic event. But much preparation precedes the planting itself: outreach, applying to funding sources, managing the stringent requirements of each funder, consulting with designers and horticulturalists to choose species which will thrive under our local conditions, identifying treewells that meet current city requirements, negotiating with property owners, coordinating with contractors to enlarge or shift treewells when necessary, staying in close touch with various city departments, and arranging for property owners to water the trees…. this is only some of the background work involved!

The biggest challenge remains decades ahead– making sure property owners understand how to receive each tree’s full benefits. By pruning only to enhance (not alter) the trees’ natural structure, business owners will profit from reduced energy bills, enhanced street life, better business, higher property values.

With enough volunteers, we can plant this spring on sections of Colorado that lack tall trees. Please contact us, whether your skill is using a shovel on short notice, making phone calls, driving a truck, or charming property owners with your enthusiasm for a move livable city.

However, everyone can play a big role by thanking the businesses who have agreed to plant and water new trees. These folks are the visionaries of our neighborhood. Let your favorite businesses on Colorado and York Boulevard know how important shade and greenery are to you.

To volunteer, please contact urbanforestcollaborativeATgmailDOTcom. Looking forward to digging holes together…

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Decades worth of growth gone in an instant

The trees on the Western end of Colorado had just been starting to reach a stature that begins to soften the boulevard. Our very own Mike Woodward, offered this lament on the topping of decades old London Plane trees in front of Bank of America on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock Patch. A careful pruning job might have lightened the canopy while preserving the beautiful natural structure of the branching.

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the spirit of the day– York Boulevard

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These pictures just in from David Cassell. I love how they capture the spirit of the day. Thanks, David!

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Planting trees and wishes

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So happy about this mornings’ planting. There were SO many people who helped make it happen. Old allies and new ones, working together to make our neighborhood even better. Friends from all corners of the metro area, and the documentary film, Plant A Wish, who inspired us to articulate our wishes so they can grow with our trees.

Some of the key people who did the groundwork for our planting came together: Circle K/Key Club, who did our initial treewell survey. Claudia Clemens and Girl Scout Troop 216 who gathered all the permissions from property owners for the trees we planted. Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council who gave important support, especially Mark Reback, who is also a TreePeople Planting Supervisor. Citizen Forester Yuliana Parada. Our horticultural advisor Marcos Trinidad. The TreePeople crew capably led by Michelle Bagnato.

The Eagles Boy Scout Troop 199 and the Arcadia Chinese Association came out to lend a hand. Other local people who love trees, and new friends from the East side, Westside, Eagle Rock and Silver Lake.

Some important people who weren’t there today: Scott Wilson, Rich Monk, Robert Powers, Mike Woodward, David Gustavson, Maggie Lobl, Melissa Guerrero and others– the list is long.

Donations of food and drink from Galco’s, Cinnamon Vegetarian Restaurant, El Arco Iris, Follieros, Starbucks, Coco’s, Dominoes, CVS was a nice way to relax afterward.

It was a great morning. Thanks everyone, for bringing your optimism and energy to our neighborhood.

Photos above by Ricky Lau and Jane Tsong. Stay tuned in weeks to come for more photos from today….


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Community “Wish Tree” Planting to be Held in Highland Park as Part of 50-state Documentary Film

The community is invited to participate in the planting of a Wish Tree on York Boulevard tomorrow morning. These arrangements were finalized only last week and we were unable to get announcements into the local press…. so spread the word to locals who love trees!

“Plant a Wish” Tour Visits Los Angeles, Invites Public to Participate on Saturday, April 30th at 10:00am in front of 5663 York Boulevard.

Los Angeles, April 30th –Highland Park residents are invited to join the Urban Forest Collaborative and the nonprofit documentary project “Plant a Wish” in a planting of wishes under two native California Sycamore trees on York Boulevard in Highland Park.

Participants will be invited to place their written wishes under the tree as it is planted, and to participate in the Plant a Wish documentary project, which highlights tree planting efforts around the country.

The Urban Forest Collaborative is working in partnership with Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, TreePeople, and The Eagle Rock Association in order to plant drought tolerant shade trees along York Boulevard. Additional trees will be planted on York this coming winter. Trees provide economic and environmental benefits to both residents and businesses.

Plant a Wish was founded on Earth Day 2010 by a couple of Hawaii filmmakers who are also avid land stewards. They will be in Los Angeles as a part of their mission to plant native “wish” trees in all 50 states and make a documentary film. This planting event is free to the public, and all are invited to attend, hand-write wishes to be planted underneath the tree, and to participate in this historic event to be filmed for a feature documentary.

The filmmakers have held community tree planting events in approximately 41 states so far, in the northeast, midwest, mid-Atlantic and southern U.S. regions.

See you tomorrow to plant trees– and wishes.

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April 30 tree planting round the corner

Apparently online registration for this event is already full! However, we are still really excited to work with and meet anyone in the neighborhood who wants to contribute to planting trees. Please contact urbanforestcollaborativeATgmailDOTcom if you would still like to come to participate on the 30th.

As we gear up for the next York Boulevard planting in winter 2011/12, we’ll need a lot of help as well. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are able to volunteer, even if only occasionally. Whether your skill is communicating with neighbors and businesses, watering, computer work, drawing, record keeping, using a tape measure, organizing, heavy lifting, driving a truck, or simply lending enthusiastic moral support– we need you!

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join us for upcoming awesomeness

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