Some time in the not-too-distant past, perhaps 10 -15 years ago, five trees were planted on the east side of La Playa Street, between Balboa and Cabrillo. Two of the trees died years ago, while still saplings, and were removed in 2021. Of the trees remaining, two survived into 2022 but are now expired; one is still alive and thriving. What happened? Why is only one tree doing well while four others are dead? And the future of the one remaining tree appears to be uncertain because it is no longer being watered.
When trees are planted by the Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), the person or organization who requests the planting agrees to water the trees for a minimum of two to three years so that the newly planted trees have a chance to take root. But in this instance, the trees were not planted by FUF but by the Department of Public Works (DPW) through their Bureau of Urban Forestry (BUF) and the DPW is responsible for watering and caring for the trees.
At first I thought they were FUF trees, and concerned that trees planted by FUF were being neglected and dying, I wrote to the Board of Supervisors. Further correspondence with FUF revealed that the trees, in fact, belonged to DPW and must have been planted by them. They did look exactly like FUF plantings with identical supports, straps and stakes. People may not be aware that many of the dead saplings they see on city streets, especially on commercial blocks, have actually been planted by BUF, not FUF. I asked, but BUF has not been able to tell me when these five trees were planted or why only some of them were being watered.