L.A.’s Urban Forest is in Trouble

A client of Echo Landscape Design was interviewed recently on NPR about the effects of the drought and lawn removal programs on our city’s trees. She’s in good company! Don Hodel (a tree expert in L.A.) and Aaron Thomas (with North East Trees) are also part of the interview. Sadly, it’s been reported that 14,000 trees in the City of L.A.’s parks have been lost within the last year due to the drought conditions.

It’s true that Julie removed a couple of trees from her front yard in preparation for redoing her landscaping to make it more drought-tolerant. She still has an enormous oak tree, three big Chinese elms and a couple of smaller trees on her large corner property. Getting rid of the lawn is one of the best things you can do for the majestic oak tree. The new planting scheme is full of large clumping grasses and flowering shrubs that provide shelter and forage to a wide array of wildlife, including butterflies, bees and hummingbirds – something the old lawn did not do at all – and that use far less water. And those two trees that were removed have been replaced with 16 new trees on the property! It’s definitely a net gain for the urban forest. The new trees will need irrigation to get them established. In return, they’ll provide shade (which helps lower energy usage and carbon emissions), help clean the air by absorbing pollution and carbon dioxide and also help to keep water in the ground during storm events, rather than letting it run off into the storm drain system where it is lost to the ocean.

You can hear the interview here.

Some of the new trees to be planted

Some of the new trees to be planted

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2 Responses to L.A.’s Urban Forest is in Trouble

  1. Sandy says:

    Love the idea of more trees! What are those trees? Do they provide shade in the winter time?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi, Sandy. We planted several different types of trees on this property, including Geijera parviflora (or Australian Willow), Tristaniopsis laurina (Sweet Gum), Schinus molle (Brazilian Pepper), Laurus nobilis (Sweet Bay) and a couple of Flowering Plums. They are mostly evergreen and do provide some shade in the winter (except for the plum), but they are mostly not very dense canopies. Choosing a tree can be a little bit complicated and the decision depends on many different variables.

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