New Trees Will Grace the Recreation Center


This is a Queensland Kauri (Agathis robusta).

David Card, former Pacific Palisades Community Chair, spoke at the Pacific Palisades Advisory Board Meeting on July 20 about the state of trees at the Palisades Recreation Center.

Over the past few years, numerous trees have fallen down and never been replaced. The town’s Palisades Forestry Committee, which is aiming to plant 100 trees in honor of the town’s Centennial, is stepping up to help.

“There are four areas of the park that need to be addressed,” Card said, noting areas targeted include 1) the entrance, 2) by the bocce courts, 3) the playground, and 4) along the park’s perimeter.

He has worked with Steve Dunlap with the City’s Recreation and Parks Forestry Division on this project.

Trees would be planted at the site of the “blue stars.”

Three trees are proposed for the entrance. Two will be in the lawn south of the library and the third will “guard” the entrance to the park at the corner of Toyopa and Alma Real.  The trees proposed are Queensland Kauri (Agathus robusta). Card describes it as “tall, narrow and a spectacular tree for the entrance.”  Resident Randy Young has donated $910 to purchase the three trees.

The Pacific Palisades Community Council has pledged money to purchase three trees to be planted by the playground. The suggested trees are Torrey Pines (pinus torreyana), and Card said they are native to small areas of the SoCal coast and will provide shade.

Since two eucalyptus next to the bocce courts have been removed, there is no shade for the elderly who play in the afternoon. Your Palisades Park Improvement is expected to pay for two Tipuana tipu trees. The trees are South American natives (Bolivia) that thrive in warmer climates, are a fast-growing shade tree and low maintenance.

“Rec maintenance will plant the trees,” Card said, who had been working with Dunlap. “Rec and Parks will do the watering.”

Additionally, the donors were clear they did not want recognition or plaques in the park, because that would need approval from the Recreation and Parks Board of Commissioners.

Additionally, along the border between the park, tennis courts and residences, “property-line trees,” which are Pittosporium undulatum, are dying. The lifespan for this tree/bush is about 40 years, so they are at the end of the plant’s lifeline.

Possible replacements could include Melaleuca quinquenervia (Paperbark) and Lophostemon conferrtus (Brisbane Box).

The melaleucca is a fast-growing tree, that is suitable for large gardens or parks. It is a medium sized to tall tree, growing up to 40 feet..

The Brisbane Box is a moderate to fast growing tree, that can become as tall as 50 feet. As it matures it develops a stately, dense, round-to-pyramidal-shaped crown, which provides shade and cover for birds.

Card guesses that as many as 30 trees could be planted in the vacancies and in place of the Pittosporum trees along the boundary of the park from Frontera to Alma Real, subject to further consultation with RAP Urban Forestry.

“It will provide a growing screen of trees,” Card said, noting that once trees are planted and grow, they should help shield residents from light pollution from the park.

This tree was one of many that blocked the tennis court lights. It was blown over last November.


Residents, whose properties abut the city park, are experiencing light pollution from the outdated and non-LED lights at the Tennis Center. The tennis lights are from the 1950s and 1960s. (The lights on Court 7-8 were installed in the 1970s).

Tennis director Mike Tomas said that Cheviot Hills and Westwood have received new lights for their municipal tennis courts.

The Palisades Park Advisory Board asked for the Recreation and Parks to replace the lights in January, and were told by Darryl Ford, Rec and Park’s Superintendent of Planning, Maintenance and Construction, that it would cost about $200,000 and that there was no money for Pacific Palisades.

Replacement would include “Demolition and removal of existing lights and arms (66 lights and 36 arms). Existing poles would remain and would be reused.  Installation of 48 new LEDs and 36 new inline arms. Lighting would be designed to ensure illumination meets the target task of 50 footcandles for the tennis.”

The amount of money saved in electricity costs from installing LED lights was not included in the report.

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One Response to New Trees Will Grace the Recreation Center

  1. Jamie says:

    Has anyone proposing the planting of Tipuana tipu trees in a park near infrastructure actually spent any time researching these trees?

    A 90 second internet search reveals myriad problems: “As a tree service company, we get year-round complaints about Tipu trees. In early spring they look terrible before the flowers and leaves appear. In early summer they make a huge mess when the abundant flowers fall off. In mid-summer, the Psyllids drop copious amounts of sticky honeydew. By fall they have grown 12 foot long whip-like branches that hang in the street and sidewalks. Mid-winter they drop most of their leaves. And finally, by the end of winter, people are complaining about hardscape damage from invasive roots.”

    The tree maintenance contractor’s conclusion: “As a company, we like these trees because they generate a healthy amount of business for us.”

    If all of the above isn’t enough, “the establishment of Tipu psyllid (pests) in California poses a significant threat to the health and value of Tipu tree plantings in California landscapes.”

    So we’re replacing invasive, maintenance-intensive eucalyptus which were failing and disease-ridden, with more invasive, maintenance-intensive and disease-prone trees?

    How about we try an actual native tree?

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