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Dead Wood
Shirley King | Avenida Primavera

Photos Shirley King.

Click on photo to enlarge.

Del Mar’s urban forest is shrinking. Everyday we encounter the tell-tale signs of the nearing death for both our public and private mature evergreen trees - the dreaded rust-colored crowns. At this point the trees’ defenses are gone; the predators rule; the trees are history. Eventually they disappear from the horizon - no coroner’s report; no city tree map to be adjusted. We notice, but we aren’t keeping track of our inventory. Something akin to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for our sickly trees would help.

The City of San Diego is keeping track of its trees. Cal Fire awarded a grant in 2015 to the City of San Diego’s Urban Forest Advisory Council to obtain a current urban tree assessment of all of its trees in the public right of way which will enable the city to have a baseline of the current urban tree canopy and to set future tree planting goals. With this information the City of San Diego can correct for the loss of its trees - with better management practices and resuscitation when indicated and eventually proper tree replacements. Citizens of San Diego can now add data directly into the San Diego County Tree Map. (www.sandiegotreemap.org). For example, our neighbors in La Jolla contributed to the count of 10,736 public trees consisting of eight genuses not including palm species in their area.

Another recent action of the San Diego Urban Forest Advisory Council is to undo the public’s perception about the depriving water management of established trees. The water conservation messages issued during the drought cutbacks neglected a strong emphasis on the continuing needs of aging trees. Working with the San Diego Water Authority to differentiate the guidelines for water-wise tree care for the San Diego Region, the Forestry Council introduced a complete list of separate requirements - outside of the two-day, per week, 10-minute landscape watering mandate. Even though most of the region’s trees have adapted a drought-tolerant ability, they need much more water than many of us are giving them - and that includes the care of public trees adjacent to our properties.

Following San Diego’s lead, Del Mar needs to build an online tree inventory that residents in Del Mar can access in order to add the loss of their trees and observations of trees in the public right of way that are distressed. An inventory will allow us to assess the reasons for a tree’s death and plan for the proper replacement. We also need to quickly join the advocacy by the Forestry Council of the essential watering standards for our trees. Despite the expectation of El Niño rains, our trees need our continuing help and protection. Go to http://www.caufc.org/SDRUFC/SDDocumnets/waterwise.pdf for the recommendations of the San Diego Regional Urban Forest Council.



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