Last April 2010, we did a tree planting in the Sunnyside and Miraloma Park neighborhoods of San Francisco. I had set my sights on getting something organized for the neighborhood late December in 2009 and worked with the good people at Friends of the Urban Forest to set a date that worked for them and the community.
A year later, all is mostly positive. Going around the various streets were we dropped the 35+ trees on that day for planting, I haven’t seen any dead ones besides the one we lost on Los Palmos. But, the one that died was really dead when it was planted due to cutting the root ball much too aggressively by our arborist on duty. We all knew the one was never going to make it and it showed signs of severe shock and death a few weeks after the planting.
To FUF’s credit, they eventually did replace the dead tree with a healthy viable one a couple of months ago. So, the line of trees will not be too much different height and age-wise as they continue to grow. The other trees on Los Palmos (we planted 10 total in that first block off Teresita) are also doing well.
All and all, I am still really glad we were able to get people out to help the neighborhood and city out with getting more trees in the ground. There was a lot of teamwork with the community, Miraloma Park Improvement Club and other businesses and organizations that contributed in many ways to the project.
But, there were some frustrations throughout the process that, if resolved, would have made the whole project even more successful. We had more home-owners willing to buy and plant trees, but the widths of the sidewalks in our neighborhood and rules along the lines of keeping sidewalk width standards compliant stopping many from being able to participate. The San Francisco Department of Public Works stopped some plantings of trees in common areas that nearby home-owners were willing to pay for and take care of because for reasons that were and continue to be beyond me. SF DPW also told us that they would be the ones planting trees in those spots, but the spots are still empty a year later.
Lastly, I was surprised by the smallish number of owners that eventually participated and bought a tree. I thought getting solid numbers was going to be easier than it was and that the value proposition for doing it was pretty transparent. The apathy of many in my neighborhood on this was a little sad.
All the property owners that participated were awesome and did a great job. There is, of course, a lot more that can be done. I am not sure where the next phase or planting is at for this area, but I hope that with the changes with the DPW and the obvious needs out there, FUF and DPW can really work together to allow those interested in contributing be able to in a non-frustrating way. After participating the recent FUF State of the Urban Forest conference call a few weeks ago, it sounds like they are moving down the right paths for the common cause and I wish them the best and thank everyone who was a part of the 2010 planting.
Please feel free to leave comments here on your experiences and feedback over the last year if you were a part or wanted to be a part of it and how things are going with your trees.