(Editor’s note: Regarding the proposed tipuana tipu trees for the Palisades Recreation by the bocce courts, I invited Palisades resident and arborist Carl Mellinger, who also serves on the Village Green board to join me in the park.)
He wrote afterwards in a November 2 email: “nice walking around with you the other day. Here are my comments on the Tipuana tipu trees.
“I have always been impressed by this great umbrella shaped tree,” Mellinger said. “I think this tree is a good selection for the park given the design and the initial intention to get umbrella trees to create a shade area for the users.
“I think it’s paramount that the intent and the design is what is driving this selection of this decurrent tree. It is difficult to find large umbrella trees such as this that grow well in Southern California,” he said. “Yes, the trees can be a bit messy when they drop their flowers but that’s for a very short period, and this goes as well with the foliage.
“Therefore, the blowing should not be too frequent; plus, the courts can be cleaned with push broom if necessary.
“They [tipu] can have surface root problems, but this can be diminished with adequate watering in the early years of their development. In addition, a continuous lateral root barrier can be installed at the farthest location possible that will alleviate and minimize any root growth toward the court.
“Regarding pests, not all tipu trees are affected by the tipu psylid or aphids. Treatments are simple and can be done systemically with good control.
“I have heard that a neighbor’s arborist recommended the Incense cedar tree for possible substitution,” Mellinger said. “That tree is not appropriate for this part of the region, even though some specimens can be found in LA, but most of them were planted in the 40’s and 50’s. That tree belongs in the higher altitude mountains and is very susceptible to pests and disease. Plus it is an excurrent tree, with minimal canopy which will not satisfy the design plan.
“Thanks for including me in this query, I was born in the PP and have deep memories of the PP park and its surroundings.”
Mellinger and this editor also looked at the other trees in the park and he noted that most of them needed water and many of them needed maintenance. Even before the drought, this Rec Center is a revenue recovery center, which means that the funds from Palisades programs must pay for some of staff salaries and utilities, such as water. The permit fees collected for parties and special events go the general fund of the Department of Recreation and Parks.
The City does not appear to have the money to regularly water – or trim trees, which Mellinger said should be done about every three years. It might be interesting if locals could start a maintenance fund for the Rec Center trees.
Additionally, this editor wondered who asked for a tree in the bocce area, because the landscape designer Pamela Burton Company, did not place a tree by the courts. There is a row of trees by the sidewalk by the entrance to the courts.
If a tree were to be planted, it seems like the initial landscaping company should be consulted. CTN called and emailed that company about why they had not placed a tree by the courts, and if they had, which tree would they have suggested. No one has responded.