• Linda Bogue

Island Update

To Park neighbors - February 2021

The cherry trees on the island at the intersections of Crescent, Warren, and Greenwood needed to be replaced. This entry informs you about plans for the island.

As you may have noticed, about half the cherries there were dead or as good as. Most of the rest were not thriving. This is not new: at least three generations of perimeter cherry trees have been planted over the past decades, and every year the Parks Dept. has had to replace one or more of them that has died.

This was not sustainable: whether it be heat reflected off the asphalt or water requirements, the site does not work for these trees. Even with year 'round water for a time -- from a sprinkler system problematically installed and connected to the public water supply by a neighbor, without permission from the City – these trees did not do well. Our islands need to be planted such that after their trees are established, they do not need regular dry season watering. (The plums on the neighboring island, for example, do not get extra water support.)

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. With a limited and oversubscribed budget for new trees, the City cannot and should not keep replacing trees that are inappropriate for their site. So, the dead cherries removed this year will not be replanted.

This means it's time to rethink and refurbish this island. The replant species here needs to better suit the site conditions; provide screening for the expanses of asphalt island neighbors look out on yet be spaced so as not to block the view across the island; be pleasing aesthetically and complement the grand incense cedar at the island's center.

After consultation among the City and various consulting arborists, the species settled upon is 'Moonglow' Juniper. It’s also an evergreen conifer, so will co-exist harmoniously with the cedar. Its smaller size will step the eye up toward the towering central cedar. Its showy, silver blue needles will provide contrast with the cedar's dark green as well as offer a handsome prospect in themselves. You can find them pictured here: https://conifersociety.org/conifers/juniperus-scopulorum-moonglow/

The plan is to fully relandscape the island this winter/spring so that it looks attractively cohesive. By replacing the cherries all at once, we avoid a hodge-podge mix of cedar, junipers and cherries until the rest of the cherries die. And this way, all the replacement junipers will be a similar size. To this end, the San Mateo Park Neighborhood Association is partnering with the City to share funding for removing all the cherries and replanting around the cedar with this Juniper.

This facelift is overdue. Keep an eye out as for the new trees – coming soon.

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