The Real Eco Choice for Southwest Landscapes

Is the summer heat leaving you feeling a bit parched? Perhaps your landscaping is thirsty, too? If so, you’re not alone. People all over the southwestern United States are realizing that our traditional green lawn landscapes are more difficult and expensive to keep watered in hot, dry years like this one. So much so that cities are actually paying residents to rip-up their grass and replace it with climate-appropriate plants.

No matter where you stand on the aesthetics of the issue, the fact is that losing the lawn allows cities to reduce water consumption—amazingly, by up to a third—even while the population grows.… Read more >>

Abuzz About the Power of Parkways!

Up until recently, many Angelinos didn’t even know what a parkway was. Often called a planting strip, median, nature space or tree lawn—people were confused about what to call it, much less what to do with this section of our cityscape.

Now all that’s changed. One little LA Times column by Steve Lopez, lots of work from Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson, the dedication of groups like LA Green Grounds, the Urban Ag Working Group, Farmscape, the LA Garden Council, Root Down LA, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Hunger Action Los Angeles, the Wynbrandt Farm, Community Health Councils, St.… Read more >>

The Real Truth About Fake Grass

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True or false? Artificial turf or “fake grass” is a great alternative to traditional lawns for water-scarce Los Angeles.

It needs no water, requires basically no maintenance, and is often billed as an eco-friendly choice because it is made from things like recycled tires. Seems like a no-brainer, but fake grass is not a good choice if your goal is a sustainable landscape. Here’s why.

Like many fake things, its beauty is only skin deep. The goal of an eco-friendly choice is a thriving eco-system.… Read more >>

Not Your Momma’s Fire Season

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Fire season is a part of LA, right?  Like earthquakes and off-the-rails movie stars, if we’ve survived them once we can do it again, right?  Wrong.

The problem is that with the climate changing, things are getting more intense.  This is not your momma’s fire season.

Southern California is in its seventh driest year on record.  This year’s January-through-March time period was the driest for LA, EVER.  Those three months of rain are crucial for us.  With almost no rainfall at the beginning of the year, the moisture content of plants in our local hills and mountains is already very low.… Read more >>

No Need to Plant-Sit These California Natives

Black Sage and Flannelbush, photos by Donnella Anderson

Going on vacation? Trying to find someone to care for your garden while you’re away? Well, this amazing duo of SoCal natives goes on vacay with you, as they need almost no water in the summer. Black sage and Flannel bush will lounge around your garden, perfectly blending with the beautiful and laid-back vibe of the SoCal summer. So take your time off and come back home to a garden that will look as fab as you do!

Black sage (Salvia mellifera)
Evergreen shrub, California native measuring 5’ tall and 5’ wide.… Read more >>

Words of Praise from a Conservation Leader

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At TreePeople we’re all about partnerships. From the U.S. Forest Service to the Mountains Restoration Trust to the Social Justice Learning Institute to city and county government agencies, professionals and organizations give us reasons every day to stand in awe of the individuals and groups willing to work together toward improving the health of our trees and local environment.

When those we admire laud us in return, it always gives us a boost! Meet Rosi Dagit, a well-known biologist and certified arborist with the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. Rosi’s conservation projects reach from Malibu Lagoon to Antarctica and benefit mountains, oceans, sea life, and people living at the wildland-urban interface.… Read more >>

TreePeople’s Ecological Restoration Team to the Rescue

Forty-five-acre Coldwater Canyon Park is home to TreePeople’s hilltop headquarters and the state-of-the-art Center for Community Forestry. Known to locals as a great hiking and dog-walking area, it’s one of the city’s valuable open spaces, and therefore home also to a myriad species of native plants and animals. As in other urban parks, though, its ecosystem is fragile and needs to be maintained.

TreePeople restores the park grounds with the help of a trained volunteer Ecological Restoration Team (ERT) that has evolved out of earlier teams of Americorps volunteers.… Read more >>

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 >>

You Can Prevent Forest Fires & Have Fun Doing It

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When we see fires raging, as we have too many times this year already, it’s natural to feel helpless. We’re always extremely vulnerable to fires in Southern California. Within the areas surrounding the Santa Monica Mountains—from the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County—more than half a million people are directly affected by fire danger. And this year’s fire forecast is severe.

But you don’t have to feel helpless. You can do something to curb fire danger, and get some fresh air and great exercise in some of the most beautiful parts of our local mountains.… Read more >>

Greening Asphalt-Covered Schools: It Never Gets Old

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When I walked into the school office, armed with my spray paint and tape measure, I was greeted by Jorge Alvarez, one of the Victoria Avenue Elementary School Green Team members. “Are we marking the asphalt today?” You would’ve thought it was Christmas, the way his face lit up when I said yes. “Let me come with you,” he volunteered.

We walked together, marking the corners of the tree wells, measuring, and all the while starting to “see” the trees. “Won’t it be great when the kids come out that door and a tree will be the first thing they see ahead of them on the playground?” asked Jorge.… Read more >>