Friday Follies: Urban Tree Care Advice Center

Friday Follies, I missed you. Thankfully, we’re back, this time with rosemary shortbread. This recipe is not for the faint of heart. I mean that quite literally, as it calls for atrocious amounts of butter. But jaysus, it’s worth it. 

One tricky thing about creating conditions for successful urban tree growth is that it requires effort from a number of different parties over the lifetime of the tree. From proper site planning, to species selection, to ensuring the tree is planted properly, to supplying ongoing care — pruning, irrigation, etc. — urban trees need consistent attention. Living things can be that way. This can mean that, even if many factors go right for an urban tree, just one or two things going wrong can still lead to serious problems and decline.

Like many communities, San Diego county has given away free trees (over 32,000) to citizens in an effort to boost dwindling urban canopy, create more shade, and reduce the energy consumption and environmental effects of constant air conditioning. But city officials found that giving away the trees themselves wasn’t enough, because education about species selection and tree maintenance was compromising their odds of survival. The solution? A tree hotline!

OK, so it’s not exactly a hotline. It’s an advice center funded by a $400,000 urban forestry grant from CAL FIRE that will offer free tree care and planting advice to San Diego County citizens. People seeking help from the advice center can walk in or phone with their questions and concerns. The program will be run by an urban tree care expert — in fact, they’re currently hiring for the position.

It’s great to see municipalities take a role in the health and care of their street trees beyond just supplying them free to property owners. Trees that are likely to die, no matter how many are supplied, are obviously of limited value. I look forward to following the urban tree care advice center to see how they fare in their mission! The center aims to open by the end of 2010.

Via SignOn San Diego

Image: Patent and the Pantry 

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