By Patricia Holloway
Last fall, the city of San Clemente applied to the National Arbor Day Foundation to become Tree City USA. Communities seek this particular designation to guide the expansion of their urban forests.
To qualify, the city adheres to four criteria:
1. Create a tree board
2. Issuing a decree for trees
3. Tree care budget
4. Celebrating Arbor Day
Based on a recent inventory, San Clemente maintains 15,000 public trees. Currently, the city removes more trees than it does vegetation. We must help reverse this trend.
Trees have roughness. Between prolonged droughts, disease, vandalism, storm damage, and aging, it’s not easy being green! Combined with trees on private land, canopy coverage in the city is 21%. This is lower than the national average of 27% and neighboring cities.
This Arbor Day gives us an opportunity to change things up by promoting a culture of caring for trees. The Citizens Garden and Climate Education Club and both Rotary Clubs are donating time and treasure to help San Clemente plant large trees in the Forster Ranch community garden.
Come at 9 a.m. on April 28 to join the action.
People are asking what they can do to support the trees in their yards and neighborhoods. Here are some answers:
- Protect mature trees. Mature trees are at the peak of their environmental strength. Its leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen; its shadow cools the air and the earth; Well-developed root systems draw water to the surface in dry times and retain water in wet times; They provide wildlife habitat, improve human health, and increase property value. she is beautiful.
- Do not cut or prune trees severely. Posing on his head causes permanent damage and weakens limbs. Also, no more than 25% of the foliage should be removed at once. Without leaves, a tree cannot feed itself. This shortens the shelf life.
- Water the trees even during a drought. Trees are exempt from water conservation restrictions, so please water trees even when you are restricted in watering your lawn or shrubs.
- Water new trees weekly. Apply 15 to 20 gallons of water, especially in hot weather. Create a trench around the tree 2-4 feet away from the trunk. Turn the hose to a low level and measure the number of minutes it takes to fill a five-gallon bucket. Multiply that by three or four and let the hose drip into the moat for that amount of time.
- Trees ripen with water monthly. Place the hose next to the drip line (where the tree canopy ends). Water slowly to a depth of 18 inches.
- Replace trees. If you must remove a tree, purchase a new one to replace it. If a tree has been removed from your street or HOA common area, ask the city or HOA to replant the tree in a suitable location.
- Funding support. Have city councils allocate additional tree planting dollars in their annual budget. Trees are the only “infrastructure” that increases in value over time.
By planting trees on Arbor Day and throughout the year, San Clemente will expand its village forest and truly become Tree City USA.
Patricia Holloway has lived and worked in San Clemente for the past 40 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a member of the local chapter of Citizens Climate Education and can be reached at [email protected].