Monday, February 1, 2016

Venice Stakeholders Funds Trimming of 21 Pines around Post Office to Protect Them from El Nino Storms

With storms blowing down trees elsewhere in Venice, the VSA has initiated a tree trimming and thinning project to protect the 21 Italian Stone Pines around the Venice Post Office.

“These pines are in dire need of care,” said Darin Morris, a Grand Boulevard resident and landscape architect.  “All the canopies are quite dense and severely top heavy, which puts them at extreme risk of blowing over in El NiƱo storms.”

Morris added, “Italian Stone Pines need proper 
pruning to grow to the majestic beauties that 
they can become, which will create a grand, 
inspiring streetscape.”   

Mark Ryavec, the president of the VSA, said, “Jim Murez, Ed Barger and I led about 200 volunteers to plant these trees about 20 years ago.  I remember that we named all the trees and that the one I helped plant is named after my great-aunt Lucy.  I feel a personal sense of stewardship.”

Campos Green View Tree Service trims trees.
Ryavec, Morris and Erin Sullivan have raised $4,500 of the $5,000 needed to pay for a licensed landscaping firm to perform the trimming.  The VSA is seeking donors to contribute the remaining $500.  All donations are tax deductible.

“Many have asked why the Post Office or the City is not paying for the trimming,” Ryavec said.  “We’ve checked with both and neither have the funds for the trimming now, while there is urgency so we don’t lose any of these trees in the coming storms.”

Sullivan, Morris and Ryavec initially proposed to the Postal Service and the City to widen all the tree wells to better accommodate the tree roots, to install decomposed granite in wider tree wells to allow more precipitation to reach the roots, and to replace sidewalk sections where they have cracked.  The Postal Service pled budget shortfalls and the City’s Division of Urban Forestry pointed out that before the tree wells are widened and the sidewalks repaired, the trees should be pruned first – and the Division was unsure of when it could fund this.

First completed tree on Grand and Riviera
The Venice Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Committee reviewed and approved the VSA application for the $5,000 but the VNC Board ignored their own committee's recommendation, electing instead to fund projects that appeared to be personal favorites.  Morris said, “It was sad, as they missed the long-term value of the trees as a community asset.  If they receive proper care these trees have the potential to outlive all of us.” 

Donors to the trimming project include Erin Sullivan, Russ Cletta, Darin Morris, Janne and Jack Kindberg, David Hertz, Scott Spector and Ralph Ziman.