of EL CERRITO TREES is
an all volunteer community-based group of citizens who are interested
in the protection, preservation, proper maintenance, and planting of
trees in El Cerrito's public parks, along its streets, and on private
property. Our members are also concerned with related issues of conservation
of vegetation and stewardship of natural resources for the health and
well-being of our communities and environment. Currently,
our group represents several hundred citizens of El Cerrito with many
more like-minded folks from neighboring communities who share our goals
to help El Cerrito become a beautiful, green place. After all, we only
have one planet!
Friends of El Cerrito
Trees is a Formal Partner of the California
Urban Forests Council
, Member of the
California ReLEAF Network , and a City
of El Cerrito sponsored Community Group.
* * All people
who share these interests who live in El Cerrito and neighboring communities
are welcome to join Friends of El Cerrito Trees. * *
Please see the
Ordinance the City Council voted for on June 21, 2004.
your letters and/or e-mail to:
City Council- El Cerrito City Hall
10940 San Pablo Avenue El Cerrito, CA 94530
for El Cerrito City Council is:
Janet Abelson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letitia Moore: email@example.com
Sandi Potter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Bridges: email@example.com
The Friends have been working on developing an Urban Forest Plan for
El Cerrito. The plan would create a infrastructure for dealing with
trees at all levels throughout the city. There would be money in the
city's budget for annual tree planting, proper maintenance including
regular water and mulch, tree preservation acts, planting the right
tree in the right place, education, etc.. Our group has a Powerpoint
Presentation called "Trees in Our City" that Deborah DiFruscia
(Communications Manager) gave at the El Cerrito Park & Recreation
Commission, El Cerrito City Council, El Cerrito Tree Commission and
was Endorsed by the El Cerrito Green Party. If you want to see more
trees planted and properly cared for in the city, please use the contact
us link to sign our petition. Thank you!
If you have a potted tree
you want to give away to a caring neigbor, or you would like a free
potted tree to plant on private property, please contact us.
NORTH EL CERRITO-
Our group planted approximately 15 trees in Tassajara Park (corner of
Tassajara & Barrett Avenue) last spring. We need volunteers to help
water the trees through the summer season. This is a great job for families
and students out for summer break to engage in. These trees also need
more mulch (free from the EC Recycing Center) to keep them healthy and
retain water. Please contact us if you can help. Thank you.
SOUTH EL CERRITO-
Our group has adopted approximately 15 trees on
the west side of Colusa (in the 400 block) just above El Cerrito High
School's playing field. We need volunteers to help water the trees through
the summer season. This is a great job for families and students out
for summer break to engage in. These trees also need more mulch (free
from the EC Recycing Center) to keep them healthy and retain water.
Please contact us if you can help. Thank you.
If you would like to plant
a Street Tree in the city parking strip in front of your home, please
see the City of El Cerrito's
Approved Master Street Tree List. There is also information there
on How to Plant a Tree and
how to care for trees under Young
Tree Care Guide. Thanks & happy planting to you!
* * * Great
NEW Use for your OLD 5 Gallon
RECYCLING Buckets - these are PERFECT for
watering young trees in warmer months, young trees need 5 gallons
of water 3 times per week. For more WATERING info see our Plant
a Tree Link * * *
of El Cerrito Trees is
happy to announce that our Tree Planting Parties on Richmond Street
& Tassajara Park were a HUGE Success!! An
article was published in the El Cerrito Journal regarding our tree planting.
To read it, see Letters
& Articles . A BIG THANK YOU to all who volunteered,
planted trees, and helped to make both days run smoothly!! We are especially
grateful to the City of El Cerrito's Maintenance Department for all
of their support. A Very SPECIAL THANK YOU to Arborist Steve Batchelder
and Peter Rudy for donating their time helping to train volunteers on
tree planting! We planted approximately 35 trees in the parking strips
along Richmond Street (between Stockton to Potrero), plus another 15
trees at Tassajara Park. The residents who requested a tree on Richmond
Street have adopted those trees and will take responsibility for watering
and mulching them for the next few years. The City of El Cerrito will
take responsibility for pruning the trees when needed.
Both projects were funded through a $2,500 grant our group received
from California ReLEAF (see Tree Grants below). Please contact us
if you would like to join our group. Thanks to all who joined the
fun and helped beautify El Cerrito!
GOOD NEWS!! The
Friends of El Cerrito Trees was awarded another grant by California
ReLEAF! We used these funds for educational outreach.
the Spring of 2003, The Friends of El Cerrito Trees received a grant
from California ReLEAF for a tree-planting project! The grant was for
$2,500. We planted 50 trees on Richmond Street and in a local park in
El Cerrito with this small amount of money! Thank you to all the volunteers
who helped make this such a successful project!
The City of El Cerrito has not received a grant for street tree planting
for more than fifteen years. That is why it is important to advocate
for an Urban Forest Plan which would put money in the budget to plant
trees annually. That way, we will have trees in the future. Join us
and learn more! Everyone is welcome and it's free!
At our October 2002
meeting, we decided to start a Friends of El CerritoTrees Great Tree
Award. This award is given to El Cerrito citizens who have cared for
beautiful trees on their property. These trees help enhance and beautify
our city and provide habit and environmental benefits to the whole community.
Our first Award went to a private residence in El Cerrito. We are planning
to have additional tree awards for commercial businesses in the future.
We hope the awards will encourage and educate others about the importance
of trees in our community. If you think you or your business has a winning
tree, contact us.
Friends of El
Cerrito Trees is looking for donations of healthy trees
to plant on city streets and public parks or to offer to those who want
to plant them in their yards. If you have a tree you would like to donate
or know of a donor, please contact us.
of Friends of El Cerrito Trees are very concerned about the pruning
practices used on city street trees. The City of El Cerrito contracts
street tree pruning out to a private contracting service. Unfortunately,
its employees often have little or no training and end up doing more
harm than good. They routinely over prune trees which can cause them
to become unstable and suseptible to disease eventually rendering them
hazardous or dead (see Don't Top Trees below). The City of El Cerrito
currently prunes street trees by rotation every three years. If you
are concerned with the pruning methods employed by the City of El Cerrito
please contact us. Friends of El Cerrito Trees would like to see a responsible
company with an arborist prune our trees. The City of El Cerrito does
not employ an arborist despite the need. Trees are an investment in
our future. We need to take better care of the trees we have, especially
since the city does NOT invest in new plantings. The money in the city
budget (approximately one hundred thousand dollars annually) pays for
pruning and removals only. We need an Urban Forest Plan to plant trees
annually and prune on an as need basis annually, being careful not to
remove more than 5-10% of the tree when we prune. This is vital to the
health of our trees. We must protect our investment for the future generations.
Top Trees!!! (from the Urban Tree Foundation)
is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known.
Yet despite more than 25 years of literature and seminars explaining
its harmful effects, topping remains a common practice. Below explains
why topping is not an acceptable pruning technique and offers some better
What Is Topping? Topping is the
indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches
that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for
topping include "heading", "tipping", "hat-racking", and "rounding over".
The most common reason given for topping is to reduce the size of a
tree. Often homeowners feel that their trees have become too large for
their property. People fear that tall trees may pose a hazard. Topping,
however, is not a viable method of height reduction, and certainly does
not reduce the hazard. In fact, topping will make a tree more hazardous
in the long term.
Topping Stresses Trees Topping often removes
50-100% of the leaf-bearing crown of a tree. Since the leaves are the
"food factories" of a tree, this can temporarily "starve" a tree. The
severity of the pruning triggers a sort of survival mechanism. The tree
activates latent buds, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below
each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as
possible. If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do this,
it will be seriously weakened and may die. A stressed tree is more vulnerable
to insect and disease infestations. Large, open pruning wounds expose
the sapwood and heartwood to attack. The tree may lack sufficient energy
to chemically "defend" the wounds against invasion. Some insects are
actually attracted to stressed trees by chemical signals.
Topping Causes Decay The preferred location
to make a pruning cut is just beyond the branch collar at the branch's
point of attachment. The tree is biologically equipped to close such
a wound provided the tree is healthy enough and the wound is not too
large. Cuts made along a limb, between lateral branches, create stubs
with wounds that the tree may not be able to close. The exposed wood
tissues begin to decay. Normally a tree will "wall off" or compartmentalize
the decaying tissues. But few trees can defend the multiple severe wounds
caused by topping. The decay organisms are given a free path to move
down through the branches.
Topping Creates Hazards The survival mechanism
that causes a tree to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut
comes at great expense to the tree. These shoots develop from buds near
the surface of the old branches. Unlike normal branches that develop
in a "socket" of overlapping wood tissues, these new shoots are only
anchored in the outermost layers of the parent branches. The new shoots
grow very quickly, as much as 20 feet in one year, in some species.
Unfortunately, the shoots are very prone to breaking, especially during
windy conditions. The irony is that while the
goal was to reduce the tree's height to make it safer, it has been made
more hazardous than before.
Topping Makes Trees Ugly The natural branching
structure of a tree is a biological wonder. Trees form a variety of
shapes and growth habits, all with the same goal of presenting their
leaves to the sun. Topping removes the ends of the branches, often leaving
ugly stubs. Topping destroys the natural form of a tree. Without the
leaves (up to six months of the year in temperate climates) a topped
tree appears disfigured and mutilated. With the leaves, it is a dense
ball of foliage, lacking its simple grace. A tree that has been topped
can never fully regain its natural form.
Topping Is Expensive The cost of topping
a tree is not limited to what the perpetrator is paid. If the tree survives,
it will require pruning again within a few years. It will either need
to be reduced again, or storm damage will have to be cleaned up. If
the tree dies it will have to be removed. Topping is a high maintenance
pruning practice. There are some hidden costs of topping. One is the
reduction in property value. Healthy, well maintained trees can add
10-20% to the value of a property. Disfigured, topped trees are considered
an impending expense. Another potential cost of topped trees is the
potential liability. Topped trees are prone to
breaking and can be hazardous. Since topping
is considered to be an unacceptable pruning practice, any damage caused
by branch failure of a topped tree may lead to a finding of negligence
in a court of law.
To Topping There are
times when a tree must be reduced in height or spread. Providing clearance
for utility lines is an example. There are recommended techniques for
doing this. If practical, branches should be removed back to their point
of origin. If a branch must be shortened, it should be cut back to a
lateral that is large enough to assume the terminal role. A rule of
thumb for this is to cut back to a lateral that is at least 1/3 the
diameter of the limb being removed. This method of branch reduction
helps to preserve the natural form of the tree. However, if large cuts
are involved, the tree may not be able to close over and compartmentalize
An Arborist Pruning large trees can be dangerous. If pruning
involves working above the ground, or using power equipment, it is best
to hire a professional arborist. An arborist can determine what type
of pruning is necessary to improve the health, appearance and safety
of your trees. A professional arborist can provide the services of a
trained crew, with all of the required safety equipment and liability
insurance. There are a variety of things to consider when selecting
an arborist: Membership in professional organizations such the International
Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the National Arborist Association (NAA)
or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) Certification
through the ISA Certified Arborist program Proof of insurance A list
of references (Don't hesitate to check)
Avoid using the services of any tree company that:
Advertises topping as a service. Knowledgeable arborists know that topping
is harmful to trees and is not an accepted practice. Uses tree climbing
spikes to climb trees that are being pruned. Climbing spikes can damage
trees, and their use should be limited to trees that are being removed.
To join the Friends of
El Cerrito Trees, or be on the mailing list contact us
our Letter of Introduction to the El Cerrito City Council
Design & Maintenance by Deborah DiFruscia
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2000- 2007, http://greenspeech.org/ectrees.html