Posted by Wes Bradford on Aug 08, 2017

Elizabeth Skrzat, a member of the LA5 Rotary Club, has been working with the environmental importance of trees since 2012, and has helped raise $19 million for tree planting in Los Angeles. (RI President Risely has challenged us to plant a tree for every Rotarian.)

The tree canopy in the Los Angeles area is in crisis, with aging trees, uneven distribution, and heat-related diseases and pests. The shot hole borer drills into the bark of distressed trees and grows a “fungus farm” inside for its food, which kills the tree. Many trees including 90% of California sycamores are expected to die from this over the next decade. Xylella is a worldwide insect-born bacterium that kills trees from the top down (the San Fernando Valley has an epidemic of this).

The City-Plants Partnership includes several organizations such as the LA Conservation Corps, the LA DWP and the LA Sanitation Department. 40,000 trees are planned for planting in low-canopy neighborhoods in the next 2 years. Partnership activities include providing residence trees, street trees, tree “adoption” to families and organizations, and volunteer tree-planting events. Providing a tree-adoption to the care of a family costs $80, and planting a tree along a sidewalk with 3 years of watering costs ~$2000.

Elizabeth urges us to create a tree-adoption event, and to reach out to schools and parks departments. We need to determine who would like to have a tree and who would take care of it, and a watering plan until it is established. A study is determining which varieties of trees have improved drought- & pest-resistance. Palms are “nice for photos”, but not very practical for shade and CO2 sequestration.