Keeping Memories of Trees Alive and Growing in L.A.

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Did you grow up in Los Angeles? Can you remember what the streets and parks looked like when you were a small child? Is it hard to imagine what used to stand where a new mall or office building now looms?

For Josh, growth is measured by a pine tree in Van Nuys.

When Josh was in the first grade in the early 1980s, he went on a field trip to TreePeople with his class from the Open Magnet School. The memory was still vivid when he came to talk to us at our booth at an Earth Day event this year.… Read more >>

Fruit Trees Go Public

Photo: Vahagn Karapetyan

You’ll have read about and possibly visited the public park orchard planted at Del Aire Park that opened last fall. It’s a Los Angeles County Arts Commission-sponsored project of the artist group Fallen Fruit, famous locally for their neighborhood maps of fruit-bearing trees accessible in public rights of way and the “fruit jams” they hold in L.A. museums and galleries. Like artist Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates, the Del Aire Fruit Tree Park acquaints the neighborhood with the notion of growing food in front, where everyone can see it and, better, eat it.… Read more >>

Parking Lot Cool

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In these recent unseasonably hot days, have you noticed the heat radiating off blacktop? Black asphalt traps heat and releases it back into our cities. “But who said streets had to be black?” asked Ben Schiller, staff writer at Co.Exist. They pointed to Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s showcase of alternative paving surfaces to demonstrate how a parking lot alone can measure 40 degrees cooler if it’s lighter in color. In Los Angeles, you can visit TreePeople’s Center for Communitiy Forestry at our Coldwater Canyon Park headquarters to see this effect in action.… Read more >>

It’s Raining! It’s Pouring!

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On average, Los Angeles gets only a quarter of an inch of rainfall in May. And yet… This year—a very dry one at that—we got a full inch of rain with the last storm. That bit of rainfall not only helped squelch the wildfires (which had an earlier than usual start this year), but it took this season from being the 4th driest to the 7th driest winter on record.

And while that may still seem pretty dire, here’s some hope: That rain was harvested at TreePeople’s headquarters, and is now stored in our cistern to use as supplemental landscape irrigation this summer.… Read more >>

No, Sticky Monkeyflower Is Not a Trendy Tropical Drink

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As much as you might want to order a Sticky Monkeyflower from your favorite mixologist, you won’t have luck. To get something with this fun of a name, you’ll have to head to your favorite California native plant nursery (try Theodore Payne Foundation or Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Grow Native Nursery).

Monkeys may not be native to California, but Sticky Monkeyflower, or Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus and cultivars), is. This evergreen shrub grows to be 2–3’ tall and 2–3’ wide.… Read more >>

Downtown L.A. Goes from Gray to Green

Photo: Laura Velkei

What’s better than a tree planting to beautify downtown L.A.? Many tree plantings to beautify downtown L.A.!

TreePeople Citizen Forester Gabrielle Newmark rallied her downtown Los Angeles Arts District community to plant 27 trees—including well-adapted Australian willows and pink trumpet trees—on April 27. Enthusiastic volunteers named each tree so that now Hector, Blossom, Roscoe, Ilean, Bob Barker, and the rest are happily installed and on their way to shading the city streets.

Gabrielle knew she was following the lead of some pioneering greening efforts that had begun making a difference in this gray and gritty part of town.… Read more >>

Free Workshops on Landscape Transformation, this Saturday, May 4

Photo: Laura Velkei

Got plans for Saturday morning? If not, then come up to TreePeople and attend one of our free quarterly workshops on how to transform your home and neighborhood landscapes. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about rain water harvesting, replacing a lawn with native plants, or planting trees—but were afraid to ask. Learn how you can make big sustainable changes at your home, and in our city, with simple DIY projects.

Read more about the May 4 workshops in the Los Angeles TimesWeekend Radar!… Read more >>

Become a Citizen Arborist and Lead Your Community to Action

Photo: Vahagn Karapetyan

TreePeople’s Citizen Arborist program is designed to train and produce a trusted network of community members who help keep our trees healthy and thriving. Certified Citizen Arborists are expert volunteers who support their neighborhoods in caring for their local trees. They are on the front lines of growing a healthy urban forest and improving the environment of Los Angeles. Peter Diep, who was recognized with TreePeople’s Volunteer of the Year award, led his first street tree care event right after earning his official Citizen Arborist status in the fall of 2012.… Read more >>

Planting Fruit Trees in Food Deserts

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The USDA Economic Research Service publishes the Food Environment Atlas to document, county by county throughout the United States, the percentage of households with limited access to grocery stores—and therefore to adequate nutrition. The interactive map aims to provide a spatial overview of communities’ abilities to access healthy food, but, so far, it doesn’t allow users to drill down to the level of neighborhoods.

In Los Angeles County, known “food deserts” include areas of South L.A. and the Northeast San Fernando Valley.… Read more >>

Tiny Pests Pose Big Threats to Native Trees

Photo: Mike Lewis

You won’t see it if you’re not looking for it, but you’ll know it was there. No bigger than a baby’s fingernail, the gold-spotted oak borer (GSOB) can devastate a 300-year-old oak tree that has withstood storms and quakes and even the quick and astounding rise of urban pollution in the 20th century. But if individual trees were all that was at stake, the oak borer wouldn’t pose such a threat. The truth is, this invasive pest could wipe out every native oak in California.… Read more >>