A million trees for Los Angeles.


This story from Los Angeles mirrors the post on Sacramento’s Tree Program we talked about. According to Green Beam News “L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants Los Angeles residents, businesses and city departments to plant 1 million trees during the next several years. The city distributed free seedlings and 5-gallon trees Sept. 30. The city partnered with nonprofit organizations such as TreePeople and L.A. Conservation Corps to continue giving away trees. The initiative is encouraging people to plant 5-gallon or larger trees. The city is asking residents and businesses to plant trees that provide shade, require little water and establish relatively easily, said George Gonzalez, Urban Forestry Division chief forester.” While I am all for trees being planted I have a couple of questions about this and other programs like this. According to the article “The Trees for Green LA program designers have developed a comprehensive List of Available Residential Trees with input from several urban forestry experts, including landscape architects and local arborists. The experts have ensured that a variety of low- and moderate-water-use species, appropriate for the different areas in Los Angeles, are offered, although available species may vary from season to season. Approximately 30 species are expected to be available at any given time.”

The article continues, “Because the purpose of this program is to provide residents with ornamental shade trees, palm trees (which offer only minimal shade) are not supplied. For the same reason, trees that produce edible fruit also are not available."

This is the list of trees, and what is most interesting that there are only three native trees on the list, Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak), and Platanus racemosus (California sycamore), and Alnus rhombifolia (White Alder).

The Chinese Tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) which is a recommended tree is also, according to Global invasive species initative an invasive pest. According to Invasivespecies.org Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa) is also a pest.

My county, El Dorado requires 50% of a commercial landscape be natives to this county. I know most municipalities discourage invasive species. It just seems odd that L.A. would encourage planting of non-natives and invasive species when other municipalities are requiring natives and discouraging invasive species. What good does it do for El Dorado County to have these requirements when our largest city does not?