Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Hancock Park Tree Trimming Stopped During Summer Heat

Tree trimming in Hancock Park was stopped at the request of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association.

Earlier we reported that CD4 announced it would be undertaking a major tree trimming effort in Hancock Park after months of discussions with the Hancock Park homeowners association.

Council Member Ryu announced:

“Tree trimming for the remaining street trees in Hancock Park will begin this Monday, July 2, 2018 and be completed by November 2018. Following previous trimming and years of negotiating with the City’s Urban Forestry Department, this final phase will complete tree trimming for the entire Hancock Park area. By the end of this final trimming contract, we will have trimmed over 2,200 trees in the Hancock Park neighborhood alone.”

But the trimming was abruptly stopped at the request of the homeowners association after residents and HPHOA arborist Sabine Hoppner noticed the trees were being severely trimmed.

“We met with the City and thought we had a plan to trim the trees,”HPHA’48  President Cindy Chvatal-Keane told the Buzz.  But concerned by what she and others were seeing, Chvatal-Keane pressed staff at the CD4 council office to stop the trimming. But it was too late to save a number of trees that had already been cut.

According to information provided by Tree People, the environmental non-profit that plants trees all over the city, no more than 20% of a mature tree’s live wood should be removed each year. And no more than 25% of a young tree’s live wood should be cut each year.

With the assistance of the CD4 Council office, it has been agreed that trimming will be suspended until the fall due to the danger of trimming/pruning mature trees in the summer heat. Instead, the City will be removing more than 35 dead trees from our parkways over the summer months and the HPHA’48 will be replanting/replacing the trees in the fall, Chvatal-Keane told residents.

A week ago, city’s department of Urban Forestry removed three trees at 4th and June, according to Chvatal-Keane. Initially Street Services/UFD wanted to remove six healthy trees in order to repair the sidewalk, but the HPHA’48 was able to work with the Council Office and Public Works to save three of those trees.

“The City also lightly trimmed the mature Elm trees on the opposite corner of 4th and June and did an excellent job, Chvatal-Keane told the Buzz.  “We are hopeful that in the fall the City and Urban Forestry earth will be using the same guidelines /model for trimming the rest of our parkway trees.”

The graphic below shows the three trees that were removed.


Three trees are scheduled for removal for sidewalk repairs

Chvatal-Keane told the Buzz that the volunteers who serve on the Hancock Park Homeowners Association are committed to doing their best to save as many as trees as possible, and will continue to encourage the City to find alternative designs when repairing sidewalks (e.g. meandering sidewalks that go around the trunk of the tree or ramping the sidewalk over the tree root).  She explained there are many examples of these alternative designs in the Hancock Park neighborhood and around the City.

“We all know that saving our tree canopy is a priority –  it improves our quality of life, improves the air we breath, cools our environment and increases our property value,” said Chvatal-Keane.

But consider giving your  tree-trimmer a summer vacation.

Holding off tree-trimming until the fall is good idea for anyone who is thinking about trimming trees on their property. Consider the guidelines for trimming trees from Tree People:

It’s important to remember that any cut creates a wound! That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful and remove only what  is needed. Less is better! ALL dead or diseased wood should be removed. Otherwise, follow these guidelines:

    • For a young tree, no more than 25% of the tree’s live wood should be removed each year.
    • For a mature tree, no more than 20% of the tree’s live wood should be removed each year.

This brings us to yet other harmful practices called lacing or thinning. This common, yet dangerous practice starves a tree–giving it less leaves, and therefore less ability to create energy. It is a myth that thinning a tree out allows the wind to go through it, thus making it less susceptible to wind damage. The opposite is true! Over-thinning allows wind to hit every branch.

Also, be on the lookout for lion-tailing. Lion-tailing removes the inside branches and leaves, leaving the majority of foliage on the ends of branches. The result is more branches breaking, wind or no wind.

And remember to never prune a stressed tree–especially a drought-stressed tree. Make sure your trees are well-watered and healthy looking before removing any live wood. Dead wood can always be removed.

Tree pruning should be a careful process– never a quick, cheap routine. The best way to protect your trees is by hiring an ISA Certified arborist. In our next post, we’ll cover tips on how to hire a top-notch crew.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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