Celebrate Urban Trees as Superheroes on National Arbor Day, April 26

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U.S. Forest Service researchers have published compelling evidence* of urban trees’ immense carbon storage capacity. Along with the other many things they do to improve the environment, trees absorb carbon dioxide emissions from a multitude of pollution sources in our cities. “Thus,” the researchers conclude, “urban trees influence local climate, carbon cycles, energy use, and climate change.”

National Arbor Day is April 26. We join our friends at Alliance for Community Trees in the firm belief that reducing atmospheric CO2 is one of the most important functions of the urban forest—and that people can play a big role.… Read more >>

Citizen Forestry: Why Trees Don’t Make Sustainable Communities, People Do

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On April 27, several bleak and over-paved blocks of downtown L.A.’s Arts District will be transformed by a community planting of 27 trees. Birds will sing, leaves will flutter, and hearts will lift: all because one person had a dream and got enough people excited about that dream to make it a reality.

That’s how Citizen Forestry works.

Gabrielle Newmark, an Arts District resident, was the winner of last year’s TreePeople-GOOD Maker Green City Challenge. She happens to be one of the 1,146 Citizen Foresters TreePeople has trained over the past 30 years, as is her mother, Sheila Newmark, who transformed a nearly treeless elementary school playground in her day.… Read more >>

Take an Earth Day Walk in the Park

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At TreePeople we like to think of every day as Earth Day.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t love to celebrate April 22 as a great time to do something wonderful for the earth.

Still, maybe planting 100 trees or installing a rain garden at your local school is more than you can work into your schedule by this Monday. If that’s the case, we have the perfect solution—simply go outside!

Increasingly, studies show that although we are more disconnected from nature—to the point where it can be considered a disorder—even if we just take a short stroll in the park, the effects are amazing .… 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

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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 >>