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Moosa Creek Blog
DEC
28

The Tree Emergency

Creekside Chat

  Drought and heat are killing mature trees at an alarming rate, especially thirsty non-native pines. Lawn replacements impact how much water nearby trees receive.  A new study published in Science magazine states that if we plant 500 billion trees, we could remove about 25% of the carbon from the atmosphere, returning it to pre-Industrial levels. As enormous as this sounds, it is do-able. Our treescape is disappearing and if you have the space, reforest with hardy natives. Here are some suggestions for large trees for large properties:

Over three hundred species rely upon oaks. The Coast Live Oak and the Canyon Live Oak are iconic to S. California , but there is the majestic Valley Oak with its lobed leaves, the CA Black Oak with large acorns and fall color, and the light green gracefulness of the Engelman Oak to choose from as well. Each of these grow best depending upon how cool, moist and hot your area is, so do your homework before you plant.

 If you miss your overgrown pine don’t despair because there are native pines to take its place. Foothill Pine has a lovely open structure; the Torrey Pine which is known for its coastal twisty appearance straightens out inland away from the constant wind. For an incredibly foresty scent, plant Incense Cedar.

Tecate Cypress and Arizona Cypress make a great hedge and windbreak, and their conical shape is a great substitution for Italian Cypress. There are only two remaining groves of wild Monterey Cypress along the coast with trees 2,000 years old, so consider it as a perfect long-lived choice for cooler properties.

A stunning underused tree with interesting foliage is Island Fern-leaf Ironwood, with its fast growth and small white flowers.

Remember to not plant trees too close to the house or over pipes or tanks, and be considerate of the neighbor’s views. While you enjoy the beauty of your native trees also picture them vacuuming carbon from the atmosphere.

Next month we’ll look at small trees for smaller properties.

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