P91016Perhaps the signs should be down instead. They are obscured by the crape myrtles where they are now. They would be more visible if they were either higher or lower, but not in line with all these trees. The trees were planted only a few years ago, but have done very well. Lodgepoles need to be removed. The specimen to the left is recovering well from earlier disfigurement.

Selection of trees for parking lots is not easy. Such trees must disperse complaisant roots that are not likely to displace pavement or curbs. They should should be reasonably high branched and conducive to pruning for clearance above parked cars, and where necessary, for delivery trucks. Excessive floral or foliar mess would be a problem. So would fruit that attracts wildlife.

Unfortunately, not many trees conform to all limitations. Those with the most complaisant roots do not get big enough to be pruned up high enough for adequate clearance, or even provide significant shade over the often hot black pavement below. Since shade is the primary function of such trees, an abundance of diminutive trees often compensate for fewer substantial trees.

This presents another range of problems. The smaller trees can be pruned for minimal clearance above pedestrians and parked cars, but not delivery trucks. What is worse is that they can not be pruned above lighting and shop signs either. Pruning them lower than the signs instead would only work if the signs were to be viewed horizontally, from the same height as the signs.

Nonetheless, that is what is most commonly done. This is the result. All those flashy and expensive signs on the buildings in the distance are mostly obscured from this vantage. Fortunately, the honey locusts closer to the signs can be pruned up higher for adequate clearance.

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4 thoughts on “Horridculture – Sign Up

  1. The same is true of the street trees blocking signs here. In Long Beach, they get topped, to my horror. In Ilwaco, they haven’t been pruned at all except for some limbing up that I can reach, like branches sticking out low into the street or sidewalk. Ilwaco has so-called columnar pears and LB has a mix of pears and those hideous purple-leaved ornamental plums.

    >

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    1. Purple leaf plums are not an easy one to work with! I remember them mingling with deodar cedars on Silver Strand Boulevard in Coronado. The contrast of color and form was really nice. However, there was plenty of room to accommodate their low canopies. I would not want them near sidewalks or curbs. The ‘can’ be pruned up, but it takes years, and no one wants to bother with it. Pears were one of the considerations for new street trees in town, and it is so frustrating that those who want them will not listen to what experts like me have to say about them.

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  2. It’s always difficult isn’t it. Developers and engineers (almost) never want to start with thinking about and planning for the planted landscape – we’re just brought in at the end to ‘pretty things up’. I’ve only had a few jobs out of hundreds where I was able to get tree root volume into roading\parking areas.

    Yet if we can do it on many sites we can also get rid of 50% or more of the stormwater thru. transpiration – but engineers love tradition with pipes and more cost it seems.

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