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 >>

How TreePeople Catches Every Drop

Jim Hardie, TreePeople 216,000 gallon cistern

Is Los Angeles a desert? Our city gets about 15 inches of rainfall annually, slightly more precipitation than, say, Missoula, Montana (though we have fewer days per year that are considered “wet”). Did you know this is enough to serve a fairly large population and irrigate its urban greenery?

But every time it rains an inch in the city of L.A., 3.8 billion gallons of runoff are sent to sea, sweeping trash, toxins, and bacteria into waterways and polluting our beaches and ocean.… Read more >>

Grow a Fruit Salad on a Single Tree

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Want to grow a fruit tree, but can’t decide which one? Wouldn’t it be great to have more than one type of fruit on a single tree? It’s possible to have this “fruit salad” effect in your backyard with the amazing technique of grafting.

Grafting is the process of splicing a branch or bud from one tree onto another tree. Grafting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in winter) is done in winter when the trees are dormant, or leafless.… Read more >>

What Kind of Tree Is That?

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Ever notice the trees in your neighborhood?

Maybe they are spectacular specimens with giant canopies that shade the streets and make you want to be a kid again and climb to the top. Or maybe they are small, under-cared for, half-dying trees, and it’s not even clear what kind they are.

More than likely, it is a mix. And that’s where two of TreePeople’s programs can really help out. Our tree care program is extensive. At TreePeople, when we plant a tree, we stay with it for a full 5 years to care for and maintain it until it is established.… Read more >>

Western Redbud: “A tree with year-round interest!”

Photos: Bob Sussman (left), Stan Shebs (right)

Why is the Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) the best tree ever? Maybe it’s because at this time of year, redbuds are the focal point of any garden lucky enough to have them. This native Californian is a small tree (15–20’ x 15–20’) and does well in most any kind of soil, as long as it is well-drained.

In the late winter and early spring, when most everything else is still dormant and waiting to bud, the red bud has spectacular magenta flowers that are delicate and yet very resilient to cold, wet days.… Read more >>

When Trees Thrive, People Thrive

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We at TreePeople certainly believe that what we are doing is a matter of life and death. But sometimes we’re confronted with more sobering proof than we expected. That’s what happened when I read this article by Lindsay Abrams that recently appeared in The Atlantic, “When Trees Die, People Die.” 

I expected that this article would be just another “trees-make-us-feel-better” story. “Aren’t they pretty? Let’s go plant some.” I wasn’t prepared for this (italics mine):

When the U.S. Forest Service looked at mortality rates in counties affected by the emerald ash borer, they found increased mortality rates.… Read more >>

Learn How to Get Your Landscape Really Green

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You may have noticed that some years in Los Angeles County are wetter—or drier—than others. And in wet years you may also have noticed a lot of unfiltered water rushing off paved surfaces, into storm drains, and out to sea carrying whatever pollutants it washes over. So, not only are we losing water that could be captured for local use or returned to the ground for irrigation, we’re failing to clean it up before it enters our waterways.

But did you know that even in times of drought, what little moisture falls from the sky can be harvested and put to use?… Read more >>

Sheet Mulching 101 (part 2 of 2)

Valerie Fontaine sheet mulching project 12-14-2012

Want to see how an average home in Los Angeles can save almost 100,000 gallons of water per year? Here is TreePeople member and volunteer Valerie Fontaine, converting her yard to a sustainable site. With a simple DIY project, Valerie transformed her garden in a weekend.

Following Part 1 of our tutorial, here are your sheet-mulching FAQs:

Is it really as simple as it sounds? Just put down cardboard or newspaper, dump mulch, keep moist, and wait? Is that it?
Yes.… Read more >>