This past summer brought us the gigantic Rim fire that devastated Yosemite National Park and surrounding communities. Over 4,900 firefighters operated under a unified command, however when the fire crossed over into the boundary between state and national park land, the National Park Service took a very different approach than Cal Fires (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection). Continue reading “Let it Burn or Suppress It? US Park Service vs Cal Fire Policy” »
Fortunately, most municipalities now have recycling programs for green waste, making it easier for homeowners to recycle their used Xmas tree. Recyclers grind or shred trees into a mulch which is then composted and eventually becomes available as a bulk or bagged mulch product. This is certainly a preferable option than the “old days” when trees were commingled with regular trash and buried in landfill sites.
If you have a large tree, prune off some branches and reduce the overall size to ensure local curbside pickup. If you have the room on your property, you can do your own recycling via a compost bin, pile or simply leaving the tree in an area where it will slowly decompose on its own. Leaving a tree whole may also become home to birds and other animals for shelter or nesting site. Make sure all tinsel and other decorations have been removed from the tree.
If you have a live tree, it can be re-planted into the outdoor landscape. Remember, depending on the variety of pine tree, these are typically large growing trees. Despite the small size now, ten to twenty years down the road, you may have a forty to sixty foot tall tree. I have seen this issue while consulting on residential sites where a neighbors Xmas tree planted near the property line grew to fifty-five feet, with limbs and roots encroaching into the clients property, damaging concrete improvements and posing an increased safety risk. If you are going to re-plant the tree, make sure you have the space for a large pine tree to grow, avoid planting near property lines, driveways, sidewalks and patios.
For more information about Xmas tree recycling, check out this article at:
For years, certified arborists and urban foresters have learned the many benefits of trees. Energy savings are one of the foremost known benefits of trees as they shade building during the summer reducing the need for air conditioning and deciduous tress allow sunlight to reach structures during winter months, solar radiation decreasing the need for winter heating.
Another known benefit for trees are their ability to reduce storm water runoff and erosion, particularly during the winter months. Tree root systems bind soil particles and slow storm runoff from roofs and other impervious surfaces, trees act as bio filters, slowing storm and irrigation water runoff and allowing the water time to slowly percolate into the soil profile rather than run off into the street or storm drain system. By forcing water to pass through the soil profile, rather than runoff into storm drain systems, the soil mass filters impurities before the water enters into streams, ponds and aquifers.
I recently read a great article by Delle Willett of the North Park News entitled Landscape Architects: Artists with the Earth as a Canvas. The article focused on three local women landscape architects who have made significant contributions to enhancing the aesthetics and functionality to the City of San Diego.
While reading about the history of female landscape architects, I couldn’t help be reflect on my own background and education within the fielof landscape architecture and landscape contracting. As a college student, my path began at UC Santa Barbara and completed with a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
I wrote and article correlating my own academic history with the three landscape architects discussed in the newspaper article. For men or women interested in the field of landscape architecture, design, planning, horticulture, arboriculture and landscape contracting, or anyone who struggled to find their own passion and career path in college, I think you’ll enjoy the read.
Wow, just when I thought the PTCA (Professional Tree Care Association) annual seminar was the bomb, the following field day was just as great. While the seminar was an indoor event focusing on a variety of topics presented by outstanding industry professionals and educators, the field day was spent outdoor at beautiful Balboa park in San Diego.
The day consisted of a number of workshops organized into several different tracks that allowed participants to choose from a palette of presentations that provided something for everybody. Tree climbers and field workers loved the tree climbing workshop and training by Mr. Martin Morales. His workshop included climbing and positioning for safe work in trees, also taught about knots, ropes and equipment inspection, while providing new tips and tricks. I am way to old for climbing, but enjoyed watching guys in the trees, had an opportunity to meet Martin during an incredible lunch (carne asada). We were looking at a rigging holding a tree log, he immediately pointed out flaws and worn equipment, I would never have noticed. Fortunately we have educated tree climbers who understand the importance of proper equipment, training and safety. Another track included Tree Risk Assessment best management practices (BMP’s) workshop taught by Mr. Ron Matranga and Dr. R. Bruce Allison. Since I consult and provide tree risk assessment as part of my practice, it was a great opportunity to learn about best management practices involved with the new TRAQ (tree risk assessment qualified) versus the previous TRACE (tree risk assessment certification exam) methodology. Dr. Allison demonstrated new sonic tomography techniques for non-destructive testing of the interior of tree trunks, new cutting edge technology that is already an advancement from just two years ago. Using probes and determining the time for sound waves to travel through tree trunks and how the sound wave moves at different velocities around interior trunk decay will assist arborists to use in advanced tree risk assessment. As Dr. Allison noted, hopefully in the next few years, the cost will come down and we will have a pocket sized device and an app to use to help us understand what is happening with interior tree decay.
We all know about new invasive insects and diseases affecting our trees, new invasive species are being detected at a rate on one every 60 days, Dr. John Kabashiima provided the sobering statistic it is now one every 45 days! The gold spotted oak borer has decimated tens of thousands of Coast Live Oak and Black Oaks throughout California.
This pest has been spread throughout the state, particularly San Diego county by people using the dead wood for fire wood, transporting it in their vehicles where they unwitting spread the insect throughout the county. Don’t move infected wood!
For pest control advisors and applicators, there was a pesticide application for trees demonstration and a safety workshop and tree identification workshop and quiz available to test your knowledge. Field guys loved the chainsaw sharpening and troubleshooting workshop presented by Mr. Paul Lasiter and Mr. Joe Garcia. Another great aspect for everyone was presentation of many workshops in Spanish and English, a very inclusive aspect that helped all of us enjoy the day.
I learned a great deal of new information I never would have even considered without this great field day presentation. Have you ever considered how heavy a downed tree trunk is? Well, there was a workshop on how to calculate the wood weight of felled trees, presented by Mr. Harvey Pedersen. Crane operators have to have a reasonable idea of how much a log or portion of a tree trunk weighs in order to safely lift it. Mr. Pederson presented wood weight calculations of various types of trees and an amazingly accurate method for estimating the weight of a log, which was then lifted by the crane which provided the true weight to compare against our estimated weights. How cool is that!
Just want to thank all of those involved in the PTCA Seminar and Field Day for a truly memorable event, a special thanks to our friend Dave Shaw
who once again served as the master of ceremony and kept us all entertained. Keep up the great work, looking forward to next years seminar and field day.
Learn more about the PTCA at http://www.ptcasandiego.org
No, this is not a perfume, rather it is the title for this years PTCA Seminar and Field Day. PTCA, known as the Professional Tree Care Association of San Diego, is a premier industry association for professionals within the tree care industry. The association contains a wide diversity of professionals, including representatives from outstanding tree care and tree service companies, ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified arborists, utility arborists, board certified master arborist, ASCA (American Association of Consulting Arborists) RSA’s (Registered Consulting Arborist), and industry professionals from utility companies, San Diego Zoo, golf courses, private industries, landscape contractors, landscape architects, educators and more.
A common thread shared by all of these different professionals and educators is our love of TREES and desire to further improve our understanding of the field of arboriculture! It is a comforting feeling sitting is a room with hundreds of people sharing our knowledge and experiences with trees, learning new information, meeting old and making new friends.
Each year, the PTCA sponsors the annual Seminar and Field Day. The first day (today) featured an incredible diversity of speakers and topics, there is something for everyone. Here is a sampling of todays speakers:
Ms. Leah Rottke, professor at Cuyamaca College spoke about what to plant now for upcoming changes brought about by climate change in Southern California, Ms. Pat Nolan, County Pathologist for San Diego County of Department of Agriculture spoke about invasive diseases moving into the Urban Forest. In the morning session, Dr. Tom Scott, Ph.D., Department of Earth Sciences, UC Riverside discussed Management of Oak trees in San Diego County followed by an afternoon discussion about the Gold Spotted Oak Borer research (GSOB) and update. Mr. Ron Matranga, Board Certified Master Arborist from Atlas Tree Service provided an overview of the ISA Traq (Tree Risk Assessment Qualified) program and Mr.Randall Stamen, Esq., from Riverside, California delivered a sobering lecture about Arboriculture and the law, including tree risk assessment and case studies. Mr. Brian Bishop of Bishops Tree Service discussed improving the efficiency of tree crews and Dr. John Kabashima, Ph.D., UC County Extension, Orange County gave an entertaining lecture about effective sampling for diagnoses of insect and disease problems. All of that in ONE day!
Really looking forward to tomorrow, the field day featuring workshops in tree risk assessment and BMP (best management practices), insects and diseases of shade tree diagnoses, pesticide applications for tree demonstrations, safety and tree identification, electrical safety, wood weight calculations, improving efficiency and maximizing safety. There will be a tree climbing workshop provided in Spanish and English.
If you are a tree, landscape, horticulture, educator, consultant, or expert witness and have not yet attended a PTCA field day, you are missing out on a premier educational and entertaining event. Members of the ISA, ASCA and urban forest councils, city and jurisdictional representatives, recreational and utility companies all come together in a common bond of learning, teaching and sharing, not to mention fantastic networking opportunities. Hope to see you at the next PTCA Seminar and Field Day!
Learn more about the PTCA at http://www.ptcasandiego.org
I read a very interesting article in the L.A. Times concerning possible affects of global warming on both the Giant and Coastal Redwood tree populations in California. There might actually be some good news associated with global warming, recent scientific studies have documented growth spurts in both the coastal redwoods and giant sequoias.
Since the 1970’s, taking corings from trees more than 1,000 years old, scientists claim certain coastal redwoods have experienced the fastest growth ever. “The forests are not experiencing detrimental impacts from climate change” stated Emily Burns, science director at the Save the Redwoods League.
A variety of factors besides climate change could explain the increased growth rates said professor Stephen Sillett of Humboldt State, one of many researchers. Scientists established 16 research plots in old growth redwood and sequoia forests throughout their respective ranges. They took pencil width corings from 78 redwoods, studied the tree rings and developed a chronology dating back year 328. They also took corings from sequoias, analyzed the rings and dated the trees back to 474!
The data revealed redwood trunk growth in recent decades has “shattered” all records. The global warming records and effects on regional precipitation are less clear, indicating highly variable precipitation but overall no significant decline in the recent study areas. One theory is old giant sequoias might be growing faster because rising temperatures have extended the growing season in the Sierra Nevada.
Other theories include redwoods receiving more sun due to reduced fog in coastal climates yet still getting the precipitation they require or getting more sunlight due to a reduction in air pollution in north coastal areas from reduction in wood processing plants.
A great side benefit of the research was discovery of an ancient tree that corings revealed the oldest coastal redwood on record, 2,500 years old, besting the previous record holder by 300 years!!
When is comes to climate change, Professor Sillett added “I’m more worried about humans than I am about redwoods. I think they’re going to hold their own”. Very glad to hear this positive redwood assessment although a bit concerned about the human race.
Click to read the full article Is Climate Change Affecting Redwoods?
The Basics on Landscape Design, Tree and Shrub Selection for Southern California Landscapes
I am most definitely a native SoCal. Born in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, educated at UC Santa Barbara and California Polytechnic University, living in San Diego for many decades, I have lived in Southern California my entire life.
Yes, we complain when we have hot spells, (last summer was ridiculous), Santa Ana winds, and the fog, but overall, we have the best climate in the world for growing plants. Whether for ornamental landscapes or vegetable gardening, we a blessed with a climate and environmental conditions that allow us to grow an incredible variety of trees, shrubs, ground covers, turf, vegetables and fruits pretty much 365 days a year.
Walk or drive throughout our neighborhoods and check out the incredible plant diversity. We are very accustomed to the trees and plants that surround us. However, if you are from the midwest, east coast or other parts of the country or the world, you are most likely amazed at the variety of plant material. Botanical gardens and arboretums from Santa Barbara to San Diego boast incredible displays of plants from around the world that flourish in our mild Mediterranean climate.
We have neighbors recently moved to San Diego from Kansas City. They purchased a home and want to landscape but are completely baffled about what to plant. Obviously, the trees and shrubs they were accustomed to in Kansas City were very different from what is available for landscaping in San Diego. I offered some suggestions to help simplify the plant selection process.
There are many approaches one can take to designing and installing an ornamental landscape for their home or place of business. Using a landscape architect to design a planting and irrigation plan is an excellent choice, however it can be costly. Landscape contractors can provide design services as part of a design build contract, however you might feel uncomfortable about possible conflict of interest, and whether the contractor is truly knowledgeable about plant material and design. Then, there are the millions of property owners trying to do it themselves. This article is for you!
Where to Start?
Don’t get caught up with or distracted by endless design themes and details. If you have a certain theme in mind, fine, then you most likely already know the kinds of plant material you want to use. I prefer to design and select plant based on the site environmental conditions matched to the cultural requirements of each plant to be used in the landscape. What does that mean?
What are Environmental Site Conditions?
The first step in selecting plant material is determining your specific site conditions. There are many factors that affect plant growth and they are reflected in your site. Analyze your location and be able to answer the following questions:
- Does the site face the north (full shade), east (part shade part sun), west (part sun – full sun), or south, (full sun). Determining the site sun exposure is one of the most important environmental conditions.
- What are the temperature extremes. Does the site receive cold weather extremes such as frequent frosts, freezes, snow or hail? Does the site receive intense heat? Determine the temperature extremes as well as the average seasonal temperature for your location.
- Is the site near the coast where it will receive constant salt air and sea breezes?
- Is the site windy, contain microclimates, protected by a structure?
- Is the soil a heavy, poorly drained clay or lighter, well drained loam, or sand?
- Is the soil structure friable and fertile or dry and compacted?
- Does the site drain well or is water trapped onsite or on top of a perched water table or spring?
- Are there rodent or pest or disease problems?
- Are there physical site constraints such as overhead or underground utilities, concrete or masonry improvement?
These are just a sampling of typical environmental site conditions that affect plant growth. The more you know about the site to be landscaped, the better informed you will be in order to make appropriate plant selections.
In the next installment, I’ll discuss plant cultural requirements and the importance of selecting plant material with cultural requirements that match the site environmental conditions, a key to successful landscape project!
Jeremy Rappoport, President of Rappoport Development Consulting Services LLC (RDCS) is pleased to announce that the company has been awarded a sub-contract agreement with Kimley-Horn and Associates (KHA) for the San Diego Association of Government (SANDAG) project South Bay Bus Rapid Transit project (SBBRT).
The South Bay Bus Rapid Transit is currently in planning and will eventually be a 21 mile service connecting the Otay Mesa international border crossing with downtown San Diego via eastern Chula Vista. The SBBRT project is being designed and built through SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments. SANDAG hired Kimley-Horn & Associates for engineering and environmental planning services for the SBBRT project, currently planned to go into service in late 2014.
The first segment of the project involves design and construction of 13-mile Bus Rapid Transit line between downtown San Diego and the Eastern Chula Vista. The route will use East Palomar Street, I-805 and state route 94 for the BRT line. The new line is expected to provide Chula Vista, National City and San Diego residents with a fast, frequent, reliable high quality transit service along arterial “transit only” lanes.
The SBBRT project will bring high speed dedicated rapid transit bus lanes and elevated platforms for easy and quick loading and unloading. The goal is to offer a mass transit alternative along a corridor and area that currently does not have one. The BRT service will make it faster and easier for commuters to use mass transit because the specially constructed buses will use “transit priority” lanes, combined with traffic signal improvements, fewer station stops and real time passenger and bus information.
East Palomar Street is a major arterial street with an east-west alignment. A portion of the SBBRT is currently being designed and engineered by Kimley-Horn and Associates, a national design, engineering, and environmental engineering and consulting firm, with local offices in San Diego. The high speed bus lanes are designed to be constructed in the existing median strip and median planters that exist along East Palomar Street. New bus stations will also be built in close proximity to the high speed bus lanes for easy, safe egress and access to the buses.
East Palomar Street medians and right of ways contain over 1,500 existing trees and palm trees along a 3.5 mile portion of the SBBRT alignment. Plans call for demolition and removal of all trees within the medians and the right of ways. KHA sub-contracted with Rappoport Development Consulting Services for environmental consulting services including certified arborist, horticulture and landscape consulting services. RDCS will provide tree inventory summarizing the quantity of various tree species, tree condition, and maintenance needs. The findings will be summarized in an arborist report including analysis and recommendations for disposition of the existing trees. Additional scope includes tree labeling, developing an opinion of costs, tree related specifications, details and best management practices.
Portions of East Palomar Street were developed anticipating the design and construction of future bus lanes within the medians. In those areas where the bus lanes were anticipated, trees were planted within the outside portion of each median to accommodate new lanes within the median between rows of trees, and it is hoped many of the existing Mexican Fan Palms can be re-used with minor relocation within the newly design medians. In older portions of East Palomar Street, the future high speed bus lanes were not planned for and existing medians contain trees located in the center of the median that will have to be removed. The street width must be widened within the north and south right of ways to accommodate the new bus lanes within the center of the street.
The current street tree plantings along East Palomar Street are dominated by two trees, Pyrus calleryana, known as the Bradford Pear and Washingtonia robusta, the Mexican Fan Palm. Secondary trees include Koelruetaria bipinnata, the Golden Rain Tree and Corymbia ficifolia, the Red Flowering Gum. In general, the street tree theme has a formal emphasis with trees planted in centered row alignment. The Bradford Pear is a heavily used street tree in Chula Vista. The tree goes deciduous through the winter then produces a massive profusion of white flowers in the late spring. While an extremely showy tree during flower, after it flowers it becomes a shade tree and can be boring when overused.
The Mexican Fan palm is iconic to the City of Chula Vista and Southern California in general. Most of the palm trees are 17 to 25 feet tall and provide a architectural form the palm is famous for. It is anticipated most of the existing palm trees will be reused in the new bus lane street tree planting. A certain number of the palms will remain in their current location while others are relocated to select areas of the project.
RDCS is certified by the California Department of General Services as a small business enterprise. RDCS LLC set a precedent being the first certified arborist consultant approved by SANDAG to the SANDAG A&E Bench (Architectural and Engineering).
With this designation from SANDAG, RDCS continues to raise awareness about the importance of our urban forest and the positive attributes a certified arborist and professional horticulturist can bring to a public works project. Jeremy Rappoport, President of RDCS expects to team with the in house landscape architectural team and various project stakeholders in developing and selecting a new, exciting and climate appropriate street tree palette for the SBBRT project.
RDCS LLC is an approved small business on call sub-consultant for Master Engineering, Architectural and Environmental consulting firms throughout California. Jeremy Rappoport, President of RDCS LLC, is a former director of land development, land development manager, purchasing agent, landscape and grading superintendent for public and private master development companies and homebuilders. Jeremy is a C-27 California landscape contractor and professional horticulturist, with a B.S. degree in Ornamental Horticulture from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Mr. Rappoport combines credentials as a certified arborist, certified tree risk assessor, C-27 landscape contractor and decades of land development expertise with a B.S. degree, continuing education and training to provide commercial, professional tree, plant, landscape and land development consulting
Rappoport Development Consulting Services LLC (RDCS), was recently approved as a SANDAG A&E Bench Consultant. Who is SANDAG and what is the A&E Bench? If you are a prime consultant, prime contractor or vendor providing design, engineering, construction and procurement services within San Diego County, read on!
Who Is SANDAG and What do They Do?
SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments is a public agency comprised of eighteen cities and county government. SANDAG builds consensus and serves as a forum for regional decision making. The agency is responsible for strategic planning, and allocation of resources such as planning and engineering for building public transportation projects.
SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors including mayors, county supervisors, and council-members representing the region’s nineteen local governments. Additional advisory representatives are from the Imperial County, U.S. Department of Defense, Caltrans, San Diego Unified Port District, Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District, San Diego County Water Authority, Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association, and Mexico. The Policy Advisory Committees assist the Board of Directors in carrying out the agency’s work program.
In January of 2003, state law consolidated SANDAG’s responsibility with many of the transit functions of the Metropolitan Transit Development Board and the North San Diego County Transit Development Board. This allowed SANDAG to assume full control over transit planning, project development and eventual project construction within the San Diego region.
What is the A&E Bench?
In their role as a planning, design and construction management agency, SANDAG maintains a contracting and procurement website seeking firms to register for a variety of services including:
– Construction, general contractors, and construction management
– Engineering, design, planning and environmental
– Technical services, GIS mapping, software development
– Marketing and public outreach
– Financial, legal, consulting, and training services
– Computer, copy equipment and office supplies
The SANDAG website welcomes registered prime contractors and engineering consultants to visit the A&E Bench section of the website. The Architecture and Engineering (A&E) Bench is comprised of small business firms for On-Call Architecture and Engineering Design and Environmental programs. A&E Bench consultant contracts provide sub-consultant services for transportation and infrastructure projects throughout San Diego County. Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) and Small Business (SB) firms are encouraged to join the “Bench” to participate in meeting these efforts.
Bench consultants include A&E firms that are certified as DBE by the California Unified Certification Program (CUCP )or SB by the Department of General Services. (DGS). The Bench is open to DBE and SB firms that provides a variety of professional A&E services. The Bench serves as a pool of certified firms that prime engineering consultants and general contractors may access to work on their SANDAG project.
Rappoport Development Consulting Services Added to the A&E Bench!
Rappoport Development Consulting Services LLC is a registered SANDAG vendor #216240. RDCS LLC is now an approved A&E Bench consultant. RDCS is proud to be the FIRST certified arborist consultant added to the SANDAG A&E Bench. RDCS LLC is certified by the California Department of General Services as a Micro Small Business #1665480 and is so listed as a SANDAG A&E Bench consultant.
Prime engineering consultants and prime contractors providing services to SANDAG can now benefit by using a certified small business sub-consultant for tree, arboriculture science and arborist issues. Transit and infra-structure projects often impact existing tree populations that require data collection, analysis and consideration of best management practices. Typical arborist consulting services may include tree tagging, labeling and tree inventory, tree risk assessment, tree health assessment, tree appraisals and valuation, developing tree construction protection plans and best management practices, tree management programs and field construction supervision, observations and arborist reports.
Since many SANDAG projects are transportation related, existing tree populations may affect the design, development and construction for transportation corridors. By adding RDCS to the A&E Bench, SANDAG recognizes the importance of preserving our existing urban forests and street trees while developing new transportation routes. Providing a certified arborist, landscape and horticulture professional to the A&A Bench allows prime consultants and contractors the opportunity to seek a SANDAG approved professional certified arborist, landscape, tree and plant consultant. Engineering, landscape architect and environmental planning firms can now benefit using an approved small business SANDAG A&E Bench consulting arborist, saving the hassle of having to search for an unapproved consultant and try to qualify them with SANDAG. In certain instances, a prime consultant or contractor may receive favorable consideration and or financial incentive using an certified small business.
Jeremy Rappoport is a certified arborist WE-9083A, a certified tree risk assessor CTRA 1220, a licensed C-27 landscape contractor #436000, professional horticulturist with a B.S. degree from California Polytechnic University Pomona, California and an experienced land development construction professional.