Human Help Needed to Restore Nature to the Angeles Forest

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The devastating Station Fire of 2009 destroyed 160,000 acres of wilderness in the Angeles National Forest in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles—and fully 11,000 of those acres burned too deep in the soil for natural seed regeneration. So every season TreePeople and the U.S. Forest Service need lots of extra hands to help plant trees while the soil conditions and temperature are optimal.

We’re in the third planting season with our partners at Forest Aid: Angeles. To meet our 2013 goal we must plant 5,000 more seedlings than last year—for a total of 15,000 new trees.… 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 >>

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 >>

Not your typical field trip: 500 students win a chance to replant the Angeles National Forest

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Students from 10 Los Angeles area middle and high schools learned this week that they were winners of sponsored field trips to the Angeles National Forest to help restore fire-damaged areas of one of Los Angeles County’s largest preserved open space.

The Facebook-based contest TreeByTree was a collaboration between TreePeople and Edison International. On a weekly basis, students from 17 schools posted photos of sustainability-minded projects they spearheaded, from recycling programs to tree plantings to converting a vintage VW Bug to electric.… 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 >>

Like it or not, you DO make a difference

“You are never in neutral,” TreePeople founder Andy Lipkis tells environmental leader Huey Johnson, in an interview about how we all affect the environment. “People say [to me], ‘I love what you do because you show that people can make a difference.’” The truth is, people do make a difference, Andy says. And it comes in the form of every step we take, every penny we spend, in all the ways we move through the world.

Growing up in the 1960s in a severely polluted Los Angeles, Andy realized that we have to embrace the notion that even the smallest contribution—whether planting a single tree or shutting off the tap when you brush your teeth—does make a positive difference.… 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 >>

Sheet Mulching 101 (part 1 of 2)

Valerie Fontaine, Dec 14, 2012

What is sheet mulching? Just the quickest, easiest way to go from a thirsty, outdated green shag carpet of a landscape to a sustainable garden in about the time it takes to mow the lawn.

Follow these easy steps and you can do what fabulous TreePeople member and volunteer Valerie Fontaine recently did at her house. Once you go green, you’ll never go back.

  • Cover the lawn with 1 layer of cardboard or 6 layers of newspaper. Be sure to overlap by at least 6 inches to prevent the grass from growing through.
Read more >>

Two Native Plants for Your Southern California Garden

Photo courtesy of weedingwildsuburbia.com

Now is a perfect time to grow your garden green. While other parts of the world are snow-covered and frigid, Southern California’s mild, wet winters make this season ideal for planting climate-friendly natives that provide habitat for our native fauna. Here are two beautiful California evergreen shrubs to check out and add to your weekend plans.

Twin Peaks 2 Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis; native evergreen shrub; 3’ tall by 8’ wide; full sun)

This shrub makes a great undulating groundcover.… Read more >>