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                                                                                 NEWSLETTER OF THE WEST HOLLYWOOD
                                                                                           TREE PRESERVATION SOCIETY


                                                     UNDER CONSTRUCTION                                




If you see someone cutting a city tree call code enforcement at 323-484-6516 or the Sheriff's Department at 911. Also take down the license plate number of the pruning company vehicle and take a picture of the people cutting the tree.



Help West Hollywood Tree Preservation Society by becoming a member today or by sponsoring one of our projects. Your tax-deductible contribution of any size is appreciated.
WHTPS is a California Non-profit Corporation, 501 ( C ) 3 Fed. ID 95-POINTS OF FOCUS:POINTS OF FOCUS:


Members are excited to once again produce a Newsletter, aimed to be both fun and informative. It will be available on the website, and to be distributed to all members by email.




June 24, 2013


On June 24, 2013 a baby London Plane Tree (Platanus acerifolia orientalis) 

was donated by West Hollywood Tree Preservation Society (WHTPS) to 

Wilcox Elementary School and planted with the help of the first graders in

both Mrs. Diaz and Ms Matz classes.  The children named the tree Marvin. 

The school is part of the Montebello School District.


Our Board of Director and Education Chairperson, Chris Wilson works 

at the school and facilitated this education experience for the children. 

Chris choose the London Plane Tree, which is in the Sycamore family of 

trees, because it is sturdy, medium size, drought tolerant and will do well 

in the clay soil of Montebello. This beautiful and healthy young tree was 

purchased from San Gabriel Nursery.


The schools Principal Mr. Gallegos, was also present at the tree planting.  

He arranged to have school District’s landscaping facilities person Jose 

prepare the hole and demonstrate the steps for proper tree planting while 

Chris explained the importance of trees in the urban forest to the children. 


On hand for this delightful experience was WHTPS’s Executive Director 

Angee Beckett.  James Geigle photographed the event.






JUNE 11, 2013


 I went out to Plummer Park Sunday with Angee to look at the tree again. We also found some photos of 

the Ash tree that we had taken in December, 2011, stored in Angee's computer files. Some were taken

close to where we were standing during the meeting with city staff. (views from NW to SE). Some were 

taken from the South, looking North. The leaves of the tree were pretty well gone in Dec. 2011, but the 

relative closeness of the tree's branches to the Canary Island Palm can clearly be seen in these photos. 

Already at that time, the foliage of the Ash is encroaching into the air-space of the Palm.  Now, the Ash 

foliage 'appears' to be growing closer to the Palm than it was in December 2011. How much closer? that 

is the question.


At that time, the photos show that a dip or heart-shaped groove can be seen at the top of the canopy. 

From this point of view, there seem to be 2 main 'sections'. or halves to the tree.

In December 2011, there appears to be a greater number of inner, smaller, branches distributed along the 

length of the main upright trunks of the tree.  Has this tree been pruned since December 2011?? It looks like

it has been. To my eye, numerous trees in the park have been pruned 'West Coast Arborists' style, with 

interior of the trees left nearly devoid of foliage. Foliage that remains is out at the ends of the branches. 

This puts the weight and the resistance at the end of branches. The physics of this configuration results

in bending & stress in the wood that may cause limbs to snap unexpectedly. The total weight may be 

less, but the remaining weight is left in the wrong place. Well, you know all this! That is what you were

talking about when you mentioned the challenges of training tree trimmers how to make the correct cuts 

for different situations.


The time of year, early Summer Vs Mid December may a big factor in the differences seen when

comparing the December 2011 photos to ones taken recently.  


Looking at these photos alongside the ones I just took raised several questions in my mind.  

I'm thinking like Colombo here. Questions keep occuring to me. 


As you and I noted during the meeting last week, I observed that there is one large section of the canopy 

that is on the South side of the tree that shows noticeably sparse foliage and tips of branches are

leafless. Today when I was looking at the tree and taking photographs, the leaves in this section of the 

tree  appeared to be drooping, the color was not the same dark green as the rest of the tree's leaves.

What is causing this?  There is an imbalance of vigor in the tree; some sections appearing almost too 

healthy, while another large section appears to be in poor health or declining.


Since one area of the tree is thinning, "a whole tree" weight distribution inequity may be 

developing. 'Someone' could be assigned to monitor the root flare for lifting of the root crown.

Consider what has been going on under the canopy of this tree. A turf restoration treatment has been

underway for a number of weeks. Grass seeds have been spread, soil amendment is present, most 

likely plentiful doses of fertilizer have been applied to encourage the growth of turf grass and a lot of 

water has been used. The whole area inside the plastic fencing is very wet. I observed that new grass is 

growing high up against the root flare of the tree.


I submit that the tree has been on a high dose of nitrogen while it has been putting on leaves this year. 

The canopy may be extra heavy. There is probably more water stored in the tree's tissues than usual,

making all the branches heavier and the trunk, also. The soil may have been saturated repeatedly, 

which may have limited the exchange of oxygen.  The soil may also be compacted as a result of too

much water. The moist conditions along with periods of high temperature, may have favored root fungus. 

One of the City staff said they have to aerate the area under the tree often, but I wonder if the aeration

that is done is of benefit to the tree, or only the turf?  A specific method to help aerate the deeper 

layers of the soil periodically could improve growing conditions in the root zone of the tree.

Conditions may not be favorable to beneficial soil micro-organisims.

Do you know if any soil testing has been done under the tree?


Jan, don't you think it's possible that what you see happening in this large and well-loved Ash tree could

have been precipitated by its pruning history and further affected by the turf renovation project. I would 

like to think that all the possible factors, conditions and assumptions have been examined, and that you 

are taking a 'whole tree' approach.


So here's what I really think, Jan. I have observed many times that after a storm, the branches of trees

have dipped down, sometimes quite low. Generally, the ground underneath these trees may have large 

puddles until the water drains away, evaporates or is taken up by the leaves and roots of the trees

during transpiration. The Ash tree may not have had sufficient time to "recover from the storm" so to 

speak. There may be a low area  on the south side of the tree where water 'ponds' and stays wet and

perhaps waterlogged with the frequent irrigation that is being applied to support growth of the grass. Even 

the grass may be having difficulty taking hold.  The turf looked relatively pale to me.

If the area were allowed to dry out, the branches may lift of their own accord. Some soil cores might reveal 

the state of the drainage pattern in the area.


I have also observed that even nursery plants in pots can be damaged by over-watering and overfertilizing.  

The nursery plants develop a growth pattern similar to what I saw in the unhealthy part of 

the  Ash tree. The foliage becomes elongated, sparse and leaves are narrow and curl 

under and  and leaf color may fade. This growth pattern resembles herbicide damage. 

That would make sense because too much fertilizer can result in burnt branch tips and even a 

yellowed appearance. 


I will send you the photos separately, later on today.


I hope that the City keeps the fences in place and the area under the tree 'off limits' until you 

are available to direct the pruning that is 'in the works'. If you could be there, that would be the best thing 

for the tree. Even though the city machine is in motion, is it possible that a delay can be negotiated?


Sylva Blackstone






April 14, 2013


Historic buildings connect to the landscape they are built on. The landscape (including 

the trees and shrubs) enhances the buildings. The buildings offer the landscape an 

elevated purpose: a slice of place, time and history for all to see. This is truly the case 

with the Plummer Park Community Clubhouse known fondly to the community and 

visitors alike as Great Hall/Long Hall, in Plummer Park, West Hollywood, California. 

The West Hollywood Tree Preservation Society’s (WHTPS) mission statement is about 

preserving trees. We pay special attention to heritage trees (a special category of the 

best examples of mature trees) and historical trees which are part of a historic place 

and create a special significance to the community.


The rare, historic, 1938 WPA structure, the Plummer Park Community Clubhouse has 

been nominated by the State Office of Historic Preservation for historic designation. As

the Executive Director of WHTPS, on behalf of the organization, we ask that you add 

our support for this designation and would urge “the Keeper” in Washington, DC to add 

The Plummer Park Community Clubhouse to the National Register of Historic Places, 

thereby helping to restore and protect these buildings and their landscape for future 

generations to enjoy.



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