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SUZI TOMPKINS, San Clemente

The city is removing and replacing the median trees along Calle Del Cerro from Avenida Pico up to Avenida La Pata due to invasive tree roots, etc. Dead and diseased trees along Vista Montana will also be replaced. Up to 416 trees will be removed.

The cost is not to exceed roughly $364,816 to remove the trees. Replacement trees will be planted at a cost not to exceed $179,000, for a total of $543,816.

The treasurer and board president of our local RSCCA met with the city and requested a tree pallet of perennials in order to provide year-round color, as well as absorption of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

They also requested low-maintenance, drought-tolerant trees, to be planted with adequate spacing in accordance with Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) mandates.

The city opted to replace trees along the Del Cerro median with the following: Phoenix Dactlysifera (Date Palms); Koelreuteria Paniculata (Golden Rain Tree); and Magnolia grandiflora (Little Gem).

When on fire, palm trees burn very hot and spread cinders very easily. Would the OCFA mandates agree with the fact that the palms would be next to the large, dry open spaces that are parallel to Calle Del Cerro?

Also, unless the city plans on trimming the dates off before they mature, when they fall to the ground, they create a huge “nuisance mess,” create trip, slip and fall liabilities, and if left for any length of time, are food for vermin. They are also described as “looking best” with adequate water and need a fair amount until they mature.

The fact that Magnolia grandiflora need moisture to be healthy shows it definitely is not drought-resistant. It is native to moist wooded areas in the southeastern U.S., from Florida to North Carolina and Texas. Surely, we don’t need to plant anything at this point in time that requires abundant water.

The Golden Rain Tree has a very high pollen count, according to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Allergy issues for some. Also, they have a mature size of 30 to 40 feet with a lifespan of around 50 years. Not long.

Poor choices for the future?

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