There are twelve new Mesa oaks on Warner Drive in Carthay Circle, thanks to the efforts of the Carthay Circle Neighborhood Association’s Beautification Committee and the Warner Ad-Hoc Tree Group, which includes residents Ann Rubin, Alisa Shudofsky, Erich Anderson, Marika Sung and Silke Rokatgo, who started working on the effort just a few months ago.
“We wanted to move quickly to get the trees planted before the summer comes, otherwise we’d have to wait until next fall,” beautification committee member Alisa Shudofsky told the Buzz when we toured the street with the new trees.
Since Warner Drive had lacked a dominate tree species for a long time, the committee consulted Will Levegood, an arborist at the Korean Youth and Community Center, who recommended the “Italian Stone Pine” as their new official speciesm because it coordinates with the big tree in Miner Park and other locations in the neighborhood. However, after an inspection by the City’s Department of Urban Forestry, the pine was vetoed because of concern over size. The committee switched to its second choice, the handsome Mesa Oak, a native with a classic form. Working quickly, volunteers signed up as many homeowners as they could who agreed to deep water the trees once a week and regular water the trees twice a week for the first three years, until the trees are established. After that, the trees will only require deep watering during the rainy season, if it’s not raining. The commercial building with a backside on Warner Avenue also agreed to care for two new trees in the parkway behind the building shown in the header photo.
“We also had the trees approved by our HPOZ Board, in addition to Urban Forestry,” said Ann Rubin. “We greatly appreciate the work of the Office of Historic Resources and their volunteer board that ensures that changes in our neighborhood conform to the Carthay Circle Preservation Plan.”
“Warner still has dead or dying old trees that will come down one way or another,” said Rubin. “We’ll plant more Mesa Oaks on parkways as they become available. We hope seeing the new trees will inspire other property owners to sign up for Mesa Oaks, too. It’s so important to work together to create a coherent tree canopy.”
The Mesa Oak, “Quercus Engelmannii” is native to slopes foothills and woodlands. It flowers in May, while seeds ripen in October. The leave are distinguishable by their leathery texture and blue-green color. The bark on a Mesa oak has a distinctive gray mottled appearance. The tree should grow to be 30 feet tall; it’s native to Los Angeles and doesn’t mind our clay soil. The tree only needs a moderate amount of water, so it should be a good street tree, once it’s established.
“Warner is an interesting street for many reasons,” explained Ann Rubin, member of the CCNA Beautification Committee. “This is a big deal to have Warner planting new trees to rebuild its coherent canopy. With the Wilshire high-rises looming and cut-through traffic, and in a few years, smack between the two Metro stations and down the block from new major museums, this beautiful neighborhood of protected historic homes from 100 years ago with green landscaping and trees offers precious open space that all can enjoy, side-by-side with the new vision for life in Los Angeles.”