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San Marino Plans Removal of 35 Trees

Chinese pistache trees will replace the current ficus trees.

Buckling sidewalks, messy berries and business sign visibility are some of the reasons San Marino is removing ficus trees that line Huntington Drive.

The issue came before city council Sept. 28, and the city has made residents aware of the 3-0 council vote (Vice Mayor Richard Ward was absent from the meeting) in its October community newsletter (download the newsletter via the city's website).

Trees targeted for removal include those along the south side of Huntington Drive between Kenilworth and Del Mar avenues and on the north side of Huntington from Kenilworth to Ridgeway Road as well as an additional five or six trees between Bedford and Monterey roads, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Environmental Services Manager Ron Serven reported to the council that city crews had used various strategies to address the issues with the trees including increased pruning, pressure washing sidewalks and replacing uplifted sidewalks, but some local businesses didn't find the measures to be effective enough. According to minutes from the council meeting, San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe and Kraemer Jewelers wrote in support of the tree removal.

Serven recommended replacing the ficus trees with Chinese pistache trees because they also provide a shade canopy but do not produce berries, and they have less invasive roots.

The Chinese pistache grows to between 25 and 35 feet high and the canopy has about the same 25 to 35-foot spread, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

According to the Times, removal of a total of 35 trees will begin next year.

Perhaps ironically, guidelines of the city's new tree preservation ordinance can also be found in this month's city newsletter directly above the Huntington Drive tree replacement announcement.

Mimi November 20, 2012 at 08:39 PM
This article presents the Huntington Business Districts point of view but is missing the Residents point of view. Some of the business owners don't own property in San Marino meaning they lease but somehow they have a greater political voice. Usually when trees are cut down it is in conjunction with a Revitalization or Improvements plan (For example: Pasadena Old Town, Alhamabra Main Street, South Pasadena Mission District). Extreme actions like cutting down 50-60 year old trees (per the City Arborist) should improve an area not make it ugly. The residential areas adjacent to the the cut zone will suffer from more noise, pollution and heat once the trees are gone. The proposed replacement tree is the Chinese Pistache tree which is DECIDUOUS. That means the leaves completely fall off during the winter season. An EVERGREEN tree would be a more appropriate choice. The infomercial above about the Chinese Pistache tree is misleading. Deciduous trees are MESSY and create a trip hazard when the leaves finally all fall to the ground. Once the Ficus trees are cut down the Huntington Business District will not look as inviting and attractive but might end up looking like a Ghost Town.
Ernie November 21, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Plant new trees. I'm tired of nearly tripping over sidewalks that have been pushed up by roots and sliding on berries.

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