Volunteer effort a key factor with Claremont tree care
Claremont is a community that recognizes its trees as one of the city’s most valuable public resources, and preserving this urban forest is one of residents’ highest priorities.
With over 24,000 city street and park trees valued at more than $84 million, the community forest not only adds to property values but provides environmental benefits while enhancing the quality of life for all citizens residing in the City of Trees.
Unfortunately, Claremont’s trees are not only dealing with the rigors of urban life, including air pollution, limited growth space and compacted soils. Now they are faced with the consequences of an ongoing drought that has already claimed the life of 147 city-owned trees, many of which are located on the city’s easement that is generally located 10 feet from the face of the curb on a homeowner’s property.
City staff and residents must work together to save as many trees as possible, creating a valuable partnership that will enable Claremont’s trees to not only survive the added stress of drought but also thrive in the years to come. Cooperation between the city and residents is essential in maintaining a community known for its beautiful tree-lined streets.
The city of Claremont has put together a quick reference list of Dos and DON’Ts for residents in caring for city-owned trees:
• DO—Deep water, on a regular basis, any city tree abutting your property.
• DO—Protect your city tree from string trimmers, lawn mowers and similar equipment.
• DO—Report anyone harming a city tree or any city tree in need of attention. Call (909) 399-5431 between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday or the Claremont Police Department at (909) 399-5411 after hours.
• DON’T—Trim, prune or remove a city tree.
• DON’T—Plant a tree in the city’s easement on your property.
• DON’T—Affix anything to a city tree or use chemicals or equipment that might harm it.
• DON’T—Put materials such as bricks, rocks or concrete near the base of a city tree or dig irrigation trenches near it.
According to Section 12.26.040 of the city municipal code, it is the duty of private property owners to accept, protect and provide adequate water to any city tree planted in the public easement over his or her property, and not to interfere with the city’s provision of water to trees, whether by water truck or other means. Residents must notify the community services department of any suspected tree hazards or maintenance needs of a city tree on their property. It’s also their responsibility to remove any vines, fallen leaves and other deadfall from city street trees planted in the easement.
In the past, letters have been sent to property owners notifying them of the water requirements and proper watering techniques for city trees, including a follow-up date for re-inspection of the tree.
If the tree is still in need of water after re-inspection, the property owner will be notified that the matter will be turned over to code enforcement and penalties may be imposed if the tree is not watered as requested.
Currently, no enforcement actions are being taken for property owners not supplying water to city trees as required, but that’s all about to change. The council recently directed city staff to begin proactive enforcement, and they are now working on changes to the municipal code for recovery of replacement costs and the value of the tree.
Claremont Municipal Code Section 12.26 allows for a penalty not to exceed $1,000 for anyone not adhering to the duties of proper tree care. The city’s code enforcement officers and arborist have citing authority to impose a penalty.
For more information about how to care for the city trees in Claremont, contact the Community Services Department at (909) 399-5431.