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Arbor Day in Review

March 9, 2013 – El Segundo, CA — A jogger accustomed to a solitary trip down the industrial portion of W. Grand Ave. to the beach stopped to ask, “What’s going on here?” He looked around at the nearly 300 volunteers, tools and materials neatly positioned by trees along the .3 mile street, sponsor banners on the fence and young people in yellow hats clearly in charge. Upon learning that this was Arbor Day and he had wandered into El Segundo’s 26th Annual Celebration, the stranger asked shyly if he could help too.

That was the spirit driving this spectacular volunteer effort to care for the Millennium Trees that line the western entrance of El Segundo, a street that is technically in the City of Los Angeles. “We have been working on this for months, and in a couple of hours it was over,” remarked Samantha Cano who was one of the 18 youth supervisors who made that possible. In truth, this was a continuation of an effort begun by the TREE MUSKETEERS pioneers in 1988. Youth Manager Hannah Poyourow explained.

Among the original goals of third-graders who founded Tree Musketeers in 1987 was to green up all the entrances to El Segundo, including this one. They set to writing letters and sitting through long public meetings. While avoiding the young Musketeers, the City of Los Angeles planted trees on this street twice, but they all died both times.

One of Tree Musketeers’ founders, Tara Church, was asked to represent America’s youth on President Clinton’s White House Millennium Council in 1999. The prestigious group planned Millennium Green celebrations around the country. Tara returned home intent upon having a South Bay millennium celebration right here on this street. Finally a deal was struck for DWP to provide water to the 104 Melaleuca trees that were planted here on January 29, 2000. That is why this area is known as Millennium Row.

Life for the trees in this inhospitable area has not been easy. Most trees only require intensive care for the first three years, but the Millennium Trees still need significant attention due to the ocean salt and industrial pollution. These trees have faced other affronts as well. Berry vines the community planted in 2001 to further green the street by covering the rusty fences were removed by Scattergood gardeners who then beheaded the Millennium Trees three years later.

When elected to City Council in 2004, Eric Busch’s first adventure in diplomacy was to lead a painstaking process of getting a written agreement between Tree Musketeers and DWP regarding Millennium Row. That was instrumental to forging the congenial relationship that exists today.

Busch has served among community leaders since 2004 on the Arbor Day task force. This year that group also included Lily Craig of Chevron, Mike Rotolo of TG Construction, El Segundo City Councilmembers Bill Fisher & Marie Fellhauer, Tree Musketeers board member Scott Houston, youth leaders Julian Poyourow & Blake Parker, Recreation & Parks staff Art Murphy & Allison Fiorini, and Tree Musketeers staff.

When asked why he keeps coming back after 10 years of Arbor Days, Fisher replies this way. “There is a great tradition and wonderful legacy of Tree Musketeers in El Segundo, and we are lucky to have such an organization in our city. They empower kids in ways that I haven’t seen before and accomplish big things year after year. It’s quite inspiring, and that’s the reason I support them. Plus we get trees planted and cared for on a scale that most organizations would envy if they understood what is done year after year after year. It’s quite inspiring, and that’s the reason I support them.”

In addition to its own generous contribution to Arbor Day as presenting sponsor, Chevron matched tree care donations of any size while providing morning snacks, T-shirts and lunch. Contributions are still being accepted and are not for just a day, but an entire year of nurturing over 1,800 trees that depend on Tree Musketeers and its volunteers. Contributors can be proud of how effectively donations are used. Because of this generous community, Tree Musketeers can boast of a 97% tree survival rate. This becomes even more impressive when you learn that 90% is the industry standard.

Arbor Day 2013 was topped off with a drawing for great prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500. While thanking the spirited troops for their participation, youth director Julian Poyourow reminded, “Mark your calendars for March 8, 2014 when we will once again celebrate Arbor Day!”

Arbor Day Event Sponsors
Meet the Arbor Day Sponsors.

3×3 Campaign Kids in Uganda

Some 200 youth supported by 128 adults planted 14,225 3×3 Campaign trees near Kampala in the Northern Region of Uganda.  The Family Caregivers Assn. also distributes fruit tree seedling to students in Apedi primary school and has established a tree nursery.

Family Caregivers Association is a community-based organization formed to help vulnerable older persons and orphaned children to live better lives in the Lira District of Northern Uganda.  This is the poorest region in the country due to decades of conflict during which 500,000 people have died, 1.6 million people were displaced and tens of thousands of people captured, including an estimated 25,000 children abducted and forced to become child soldiers.  Even so, John Alfred Ejura, the group’s Chairman, insists that deforestation is the most critical problem faced in North and Eastern part of Uganda.

If planting trees to fight global warming and the other environmental issues inherent to deforestation is tops on the minds of these people, please reexamine whatever excuse you’ve been using for not taking action yourself.

Treat Your Trees: Go Native

The use of native plants and trees in the urban landscape is promoted heavily and often nowadays. If you find yourself wondering why, consider that planting natives instead of exotic species in your yard and in your neighborhood can be of great benefit to both you and the environment. For you, native plants are easier to find and more affordable. They are extremely easy to cultivate and require less care. A native plant already knows how to thrive in the environment where you live with minimal effort on your part. Plants are great at fighting off disease and infection when they are in their natural habitat. They have adapted over time to survive almost anything they encounter in that area including natural disasters. Because native plants belong there, they tend be naturally beautiful with little or no design work from you. For the environment, natives require less water which is becoming a scarcer resource as time goes by. The temptation to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides all but disappears due to their natural ability to thrive. Neighboring plants, animals and insects can all coexist with your native plants. The ecosystem may even reap the benefit of attracting wildlife to your yard by providing food and shelter. Finally, planting natives ensures that you do not introduce invasive species. Native plants in some areas of California have already been completely replaced by exotics, weeds, fire, and other activities of man.

If these tidbits have piqued your curiosity about native trees and plants, you should attend Tree Musketeers’ Treat Your Trees workshop on natives. Mark your calendar for Saturday Feb. 2 and 19 starting at 10am and finishing by 1pm. Kids and adults can call Tree Musketeers at 310/322- 0263 or email to register.

You can also try a new test feature (easy signup) below… Simply fill out the fields and submit!

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Note, this form is only to notify our Volunteer Coordinator of a new registration. There may not be any available slots left in the event, however by completing this form the volunteer coordinator will be in touch with info.

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Don’t Top Your Trees!!

Trimming is for bushes, pruning is for trees and topping is for hacks!

Topping is cutting off the top or ends of branches. It can cause problems:

Starvation when a tree can’t make enough food, because too many leaves are lost.

Shock from losing too many leaves at once may permanently weaken or even kill a tree.

Insects and Disease may set in from the many large, open wounds.

Weak Limbs that are potentially hazardous sprout from mutilated branches.

Ugliness is permanent as a topped tree will never regain its full grace and beauty.

Cost may be less for topping, but more frequent care, liabilities, perhaps removal and reduced property values can cost you big!

When done properly, pruning is the strategic removal of branches using professional cuts at appropriate points for tree structure, health, safety and to eliminate conflicts.

Whether you are interested in pruning your own trees or being more knowledgeable when you hire someone else to do it, you should attend Tree Musketeers’ Treat Your Trees workshop on pruning. Mark your calendar for Saturday Jan. 19th 10am-1pm. Kids and adults can call Tree Musketeers at 310/322-0263 or email to register.

We prune trees for multiple reasons:
Structure –To create a good, natural form for a long healthy life.

Tree Health – To remove dead, diseased, or broken branches.

Safety – To reduce hazards, create clearance underneath, or to make traffic signs more visible.

Conflicts – To eliminate conflicts with structures, power lines, pedestrians, etc.

Preventative – To thin and lighten the load on lateral branches to reduce the chance of tree failure in storms.

Structural pruning is done in the 2nd or 3rd year after planting. Light pruning to remove dead, broken or diseased branches can take place anytime. Heavy pruning is generally best while trees are dormant or asleep in the winter and before new growth in the spring. This is a hard and fast rule for pines and other coniferous trees. Pruning rules vary to some extent with evergreens and by species, so ask a Certified Arborist or other tree expert for advice.

Whether you are interested in pruning your own trees or being more knowledgeable when you hire someone else to do it, you should attend Tree Musketeers’ Treat Your Trees workshop on pruning. Mark your calendar for Saturday Jan. 19th 10am-1pm. Kids and adults can call Tree Musketeers at 310/322-0263 or email to register.

Treat Your Trees – Proper Pruning

Even if you are trained in the art of pruning, there are times when it is best to call a professional:

• When you need a ladder or to climb to prune.
• If a hand saw can’t do the job.
• When power lines are near a tree.
• If a branch is heavy enough to cause damage when falling.
• When the tree appears to be diseased.

Avoid the temptation to save a few bucks by engaging those folks who drop cards on our doorsteps offering services ranging from washing windows to babysitting and tree pruning. Owning a chainsaw and pickup truck does not make a professional. While the charge may be less, hiring these unlicensed and uninsured people can cost you and your tree big time.
Improper pruning can be far worse than no care at all. Once the cut is made, it is permanent. Beyond destroying its natural grandeur, the tree’s health and safety may be compromised. In sum, untrained people should not go near a tree with sharp tools.

True professionals are ISA Certified Arborists. Call Tree Musketeers for pruning help or find another local Certified Arborist at If anyone agrees to top your trees when you ask for it, do not hire them. Remember, trimming is for bushes, pruning if for trees and topping is for hacks!

Treat Your Trees with love, respect and proper pruning.

For more info about pruning your trees, view our tree pruning brochure. It gives info essential for caring for your tree.

Kids: Learn to Supervise Volunteers and Plant Trees

2009, 03-07 Arbor Day, Talia, Bill Fisher and friends

Learn to plant trees properly and to supervise youth and adult volunteers. Youth Tree Planting Supervisor Training is available for kids age 10-18. Sign up for classes:
January 26 (Sat) 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
February 23 (Sat) 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
It starts with two hours of classroom time about the benefits of trees, youth leadership in the field, supervising volunteers and the basics of tree planting. Following a lunch break, everyone convenes on Memory Row for field training. Each of the more than one million trees planted under TREE MUSKETEERS programs was supervised by a trained youth leader. Join the Tree Team!
Click here for the enrollment form and find more details on the LEAD page or call (310)322-0263.

Treat Your Trees: Know Your Christmas Tree

This is the season when trees come indoors to make our holidays festive. There are environmental arguments for and against any tree you may choose. If you opt for an artificial tree, be certain you will use it for years to come since nonrenewable resources were used to produce it. There are two ways to minimize the environmental impact of cut trees. Try to get a locally grown tree to reduce pollution associated with transporting it, and be sure it gets recycled after the holidays.

The other choice is a living tree that, instead of becoming trash, can be planted after the holidays. There are precautions to be taken to ensure this noble outcome.

Check the species before you buy. Will it live in a Southern California coastal area? Is its eventual size practical for your yard or other spaces should you donate it to a nonprofit such as Tree Musketeers? Many living trees are Italian Stone Pines that reach 80 feet in height and crown width at maturity.

Ignore labels boasting that living trees can be in the house longer. That is true only if tree survival is unimportant. Ten to fourteen days is about all of the warm indoors time a tree can tolerate. Keep a saucer under the pot before, during and after its time inside. These trees are root bound meaning there is little soil in the pot, and water runs straight through. The saucer will collect that water allowing the roots to drink at their leisure.

Learn to identify trees by species at Tree Musketeers’ Treat Your Trees workshops on Saturday Dec. 15th 10am-1pm. People who participate in each of five free Treat Your Trees workshops can earn a Tree Caregiver Certificate. Kids and adults can call Tree Musketeers at 310/322-0263 or email to register.

Treat Your Trees: Tree Identification!

How many of us know the trees that stand in our yards and along our streets? If we are going to have a relationship with trees, we should call them by name!

Beyond satisfying our curiosity, knowing how to identify trees has practical applications even if we are not Arborists. We can look up one that we like on the Internet and learn about its space requirements and personality traits before planting. We can check on any special needs of trees we already have to give them the best possible care. We might also impress our walking buddies with this new found knowledge.

Learn to identify trees by species at Tree Musketeers’ Treat Your Trees workshops on Saturday Dec. 1st and 15th 10am-1pm. People who participate in each of five free Treat Your Trees workshops can earn a Tree Caregiver Certificate. Kids and adults can call Tree Musketeers at 310/322-0263 or email to register.

Memory Tree Reservations Open!

Tree planting season all over the world varies by geography and coincides with the dormant months for trees. In California, we plant trees November through March. Tree Musketeers is hosting the first Memory Tree planting of the season on Sunday, November 17, 2012. Two more opportunities to plant or adopt a living tribute for a special person or event are set for January and February 2013.
Make your reservation as early as possible since these very intimate plantings are limited to a maximum of 10 trees. Click here for the Memory Tree Reservation Form which contains all the details.
Beyond keeping beautiful memories alive (literally), Memory Trees enlarge the community forest by forming a lush passive park and each one is a living clean air machine to help curb global warming. The public is invited to participate.

Treat Your Trees – Mulching!

We all know about those three “R’s”, and mulching is one way to “reduce.” Materials otherwise destined to become trash or landfill cover can instead benefit your trees or other plants. Once you have collected pine needles, dry leaves, bark or wood chips, the mulching process is simple.

Remove weeds or grass from the areas to be mulched. Spread a layer of mulch up to 4” thick. The one important thing to know is that the mulch must not touch tree trunks. Trunks are wood and will join the mulch in decomposing, known as root crown rot, which is fatal for trees. Just ensure a couple of inches of space between.

You will need to refresh your mulch about once a year. Just put new material on top of the old to facilitate the biodegrading benefit of mulching. With that, you have taken another step to having a sustainable yard and Treated Your Trees!

Earn a Tree Caregiver Certificate by taking one each of five free Treat Your Trees workshops! Mulching is the topic on Saturday 17th 10am-1pm. Kids and adults can call Tree Musketeers at 310/322-0263 or email to register.