Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

When green turns to grey – Caring for our aging trees and urban forests

When you drive to work, go to the grocery store, or visit family or friends, do you

ever wonder where all these trees came from and how they got here?

Just think what your community would be like without trees – only plain asphalt

telephone poles and wires, which would not be very pleasing to experience.

The trees that have been planted in our Southern California urban forests come

from around the world and have been planted by cities, urban foresters, and

volunteers. They are now turning grey with age, just like a few of us today.

Besides the world's natural forests, some of the imported local trees are well over

100 years old, like in San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, and here in


I have always said that trees are like people, with no two exactly alike, and must

be cared for accordingly, for they can't do it alone.

City street tree divisions have crews out constantly evaluating their inventories on

a routine schedule. This seasonal data is collected and put into an evaluation

program, and given a point system for the trees' overall health. Tree hazards

may exist, and professional tree care needs to be done, but some trees need to

be removed for safety and liability.

The benefits of street trees have been proven to have many attributes for

communities' overall health. The shade tree cover percentage in cities is

given great attention and priority, and as trees fade away, new replacement trees

are planted, which is why I state when green turns to grey.

When we understand the many good things that trees give us, we can appreciate

what trees provide us: shelter to live in, food for our tables, the warmth in our

hearth, the shade that cools our homes, the habitat for wildlife, and so much


You must understand that the tiny cut-out concrete square along any sidewalk is

not how to grow healthy trees, yet we still plant trees, hoping that their internal

a health capsule will provide us with an average of at least 40 years, give or take.

Trees are a community's true heroes and air conditioners, and we must

appreciate them for as long as we have them with proper stewardship and

individual care.

With the mega-fires plaguing California, millions of trees have been lost to vast forest fires, and new plantings are now being started to help recover our oxygen-

giving friends, but it will take time to rebuild these forest lands.

The earth's climate is changing and under stress, and we will see significant

changes further down the road, but the planting of new trees is only part of the


The weather patterns and the lack of annual rainfall put trees and vegetation into

a water-stress mode. When this occurs, invasive and opportunist bugs enter the

scene and prey on weak trees, so it is essential to care for trees, just like we care

for our bodies and overall health.

But one of the natural wonders of trees is that there is hope, and you and I can be

a part of the solutions with ongoing commitments in the regreening of our planet.

Tree plantings are increasing globally, with billions of new trees going into the

ground from China and Zimbabwe, and India to California, and worldwide.

Cities are planting young trees next to the older ones, and when the young trees

are settling in and becoming established, the older ones are replaced.

Governments and tree planting groups are doing herculean tasks of setting new

trees into the earth, and this is being supported by the National Arbor Day

Foundation, California ReLeaf, Tree Planting America, San Diego People for Trees, and the Save Our Forest group right here in Fallbrook which is a

fabulous group of volunteers.

States practice National Arbor Day plantings with given dates per each state to

celebrate tree plantings. March 7-14 is the week when ceremonial tree

plantings occur here in California.

So, join a local group not only to plant new trees but to become an earth-steward

and care for some trees in your community. The clock is ticking, and the planting

of new trees is of the essence. Stop thinking about it, pick up your shovel, or

donate some time or monies to save the planet, for we are all in this together.

Budgetary shortfalls have inspired strokes of creative reorganization around the

nation. In recent years, reduced funding for tree programs has also fostered

increased involvement of nonprofit organizations and ordinary citizens in

managing urban forests for today, tomorrow, and into the future.

Adopt a tree, a bench, or a roadway here in Fallbrook. Get your block to become

tree-huggers. Start veggie plantings up and down your block and have a summer

food-sharing festival, and if you have too much of anything, donate it to some

food bank or a local church to share in its bounty.

If you don't have gardening space or live in an apartment, be a part of the great

Fallbrook Community garden on Alturas Street and pitch in to have some fun,

learn, and give back a little to your community which makes for a more

wholesome, sharing, and giving town.

Last year, a local Fallbrook group of volunteers joined forces and planted 100 new

native oak trees in Live Oak Park to celebrate the park's 100-year centennial.

The key to understanding "when green turns grey" is staggering more senior tree

removal as they decline and plant younger trees in establishing themselves.

"We are like trees, for we must create new leaves, in new directions to grow daily."

Roger Boddaert, The Tree Man of Fallbrook, can be reached @ 760-728-4297.


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