Preparing the Tree Care Days schedule for 2018 required site visits to assess conditions at the various project sites maintained by the Benicia Tree Foundation. The site visits occurred on December 23rd. Here is a quick rundown on what was found.
Semple School was the first project site visited. 80 trees were planted in 2013 and they have been growing without supplemental irrigation for the last two summers. The trees were last maintained in August and most all were in good shape. Aside from routine maintenance, which consists of weeding, rebuilding water berms and mulching, pruning will also be needed on some of the trees. For example, some of the Canary Island pines are developing co-dominant leader branches (see photo below), which should be removed.
The trees growing at the Capitol Heights project site were planted two years ago. We removed a couple of tree stakes that were no longer needed, and the tree looked in good shape. One Ginkgo was showing off some great fall color (see photo below). Routine maintenance and watering will be scheduled in 2018.
Liberty High was the next site visit where 12 trees were planted during Arbor Week in 2014. The school district recently mulched the site (see photo below). The trees have been growing without supplemental water for two years and need pruning.
Staying on the Eastside we stopped at the National Guard Armory project site that was established in 2013. During the drought, we lost the redwoods and the Crepe myrtles, but twelve remaining trees are well established, no longer requiring supplemental irrigation. The site is very overgrown so it is a major weed abatement project.
The high school is the site of two projects, one by the ball fields in 2011 and a second project by the upper parking lot in 2015. The school district recently mulched the ballfield site. (see photo below) About twelve oaks need some pruning this summer along Denfield Avenue. The upper parking lot is not a construction zone so it difficult to determine what needs to be done until the fencing is removed (see second photo below).
Turner was planted in 2015. Someone decorated one of the cedars (see photo below). We also lost two cedars from an unknown cause. Routine maintenance is anticipated for the remaining trees in 2018. If we don’t get much rain, supplemental water in the summer might be needed.
The Lake Herman Open Space was the last project site visit. Here, 100 tree saplings were planted in 2015. This site was attached by voles during the past year. Many trees were gnawed off at their tap root (see photo below). Voles also attached other restoration sites by the Solano Land Trust and the Solano Resource Conservation District. Their recommendation is the replace our chicken wire cages with cages made of hardware cloth, which has a tighter mesh that will keep out the moles. This will be our biggest maintenance project for 2018.
These site visits will inform the Benicia Tree Foundation schedule for Second Saturday and Third Thursday Tree Care Days in 2018. That schedule should be published on the BTF website by January 1.