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Discussion in 'Plants: In the News' started by Junglekeeper, Dec 29, 2011.
Guerrilla Grafters: Splicing Fruit-Bearing Branches Onto City Trees
]I be nervous about spotlighting myself on public video boards about my covert activities and having some government officials wanting to make examples of me. Of course the area is the Bay Area, so perhaps location location location is everything.
Not that I'm actually against Guerrilla Gardening, Landscaping, etc. I have persued Guerrilla Environmental Restoration about 3 decades ago. Two places in particular on the outskirts of San Diego. Went to both this past summer and was amazed by the transformation. The oldest area is now next to and actually part of a brand new housing tract development which started in 2006. At that time, before moving to Europe, I thought the canyon I had transformed was a goner. Though I hadn't been up there since the early 1980s, the entire mountain complex was first environmentally surveyed. One reason was the California Natcatcher. The area I had established as a sort of Torrey pines sanctuary was roped off with environmental tape. Aside from Torreys, I established a large arcreage of Coastal Cholla ( Cylindropuntia prolifera ), San Diego Coastal Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus viridescens) and Chalk Dudleya Dudleya pulverulenta. I'll have to dig up some photos we took of everything up there.
The Coastal Cholla I rescued from a housing development proposal area before they graded it. Most of the coast areas are so developed in So-Cal that many species of many living things are extinct in most areas. The Coast Cholla was never part of the hills above my Mum's house, but they are now. The area looks like they've been there for centuries. And they have also spread by the arm and finger joints breaking off and spreading either by gravity down hill or animal movement along the same elevation or higher. The Barrel Cactuses use to be in the thousands when I was a kid in the late 50s eraly 60s. But constant fires and human private collecting have destroyed all but 4% of what once was. The development destroyed what wild populations existed, but I managed to rescue many and give them to native gardeners before the bull dozer had it's way. The Dudleya also is gone from many areas there.
This past June we revisted the area. I was excited to find Coastal Cactus Wren nesting in several locations among the Cholla fields. I don't even remember them being there from before when I was young. I didn't really see the California Natcatcher being present and over half that mountain range was set aside for it's habitat.
Oh well, I've never let it known to the developers who established that housing tract what I did back in the 1970s, as I'm not sure of the legal implications for my Guerrilla Environmental restoration project. Of course a few old time nieghbours left around there remember, but have kept quiet.
Here is one of several Torrey's growing. All are a little over 30 years old.
Here's a pic of one of the smaller Coastal Cholla patch sites where the Wrens and Doves now nest.
The idea is intriguing and does have some merit but I have concerns about the effect of such activity on the host tree, especially if the grafting is not done properly. Also, there are other issues such as the aesthetics and the long-term maintenance of a modified tree. I'm sure the city would also have liability concerns. I can't imagine the city arborist would be too pleased.
Around here, the councils had a deliberate policy of planting fruit trees (particularly cherries) so that people would have fruit to eat.
Then 20 years later, they came along and pruned off all the low branches, so that no-one can reach the fruit. St*pid *diots.
What was their rationale for doing this?
Around my nieghbourhood here in Sweden we have numerous cheery trees along all the pathways and boardwalks. We also deal heavily with broken branches and other small limbs as a result of kids from other nieghbourhoods coming over and climbing our public trees and creating bigger messes on the boardwalks. Not only does this create a mess, but it also damages the tree's health by improper care, but also the esthetics of the trees. I'm not sure about cheery tree varieties, but these cherries I'm talking about are small red tart, yet sweet cheeries look something like this picture below:
I guess my pont is that such a tree, while beautiful in many ways, is not necessarily an ideal public landscape tree. Reasons of course are the mess they create. In San Diego when I was a kid, there were often olive trees which lined many of the paved roads, which themselves were old agricultural farm roads. But Olive trees, which beautiful and pictureque in their own way are extremely messy and should not be used in landscape along pathways or sidewalks unless they are of a fruitless variety.
This is probably the reasons the city there in Berkley[refering back to OP] chose fruitless trees in the first place. The Guerrilla Gardeners are not necessarily doing anyone a good service. Although, given the location of anywhere around the Bay area, you're bound to get all manner of kooky causes, even if promoted as well meaning.
Many cities have lots of opportunities for vacant land. Surely if they were to approach the city leaders and propose some beautification along with food promotion efforts, they may well go for this. Unfortunately that takes the fun out of doing something that appears to go against the establishment, which often is what these things are about in the first place. Damn those capitalsts!!!
Looks similar to some of the ones here, though others have dark purple rather than red fruit.
Don't know why the councils cut the low branches, but I suspect something to do with poor interpretation of health and safety issues (low branches might have muggers hiding behind them, shock, horror!!).
If those trimmed lower cherry tree branches were in the US, I'd say it was due to change in administration over the years, and someone in there fearing lawsuits.
My dog is allowed to swim in a local aerated water retention pond, but not off-lead. I'm not allowed in the pond with her, not that I'd want to... That's a conflict between two administrations of this small city, but not one they are likely to address.
They also have cut back accessible fruit bearing branches on loquats and satsumas because of liability for any random tummy ache. Or perhaps the all encompassing "attractive nuisance" factor.
Stupid is stupid.
One of the main practical issues with street trees is overhead clearance - people have to be able to walk and drive beneath them. On the street side branches often need to be above 14' in order for commercial vehicles to pass beneath the trees.
Yes, fruit trees are not considered suitable for public street plantings due to the mess. In my area orchard types like apple trees are often left unpicked and may attract wasps and songbirds, both of which can be quite a bother to pedestrians and vehicle owners when concentrated in a small area. The amount of bird poop dropped beneath fruiting trees can be amazing. I have also seen wharf rats on bearing fig and apple trees here, the mature or maturing fruits such a draw for these that they come to gnaw them in broad daylight.
Crows and Eastern gray squirrels are also sometimes drawn to fig trees here. The squirrels are also apt to come to some kinds of plum trees.
Well this is sad because will bring frest fruits to the inner city. I wonder what trees are fast growers and are recommended to plant in the City I am trying for my city to plants trees in a street close by to beautify the area, but they complaints about the roots of the tree and the sewage system... Any good suggestions?
Check with local street department or other pertinent agency before planting any trees on public streets. If you are saying someone at the city has already said verbally that roots are a problem, look for a written policy or guidelines. Planting of new orchard fruit trees on streets may actually be prohibited there, the problems with litter and vermin I have discussed above are big enough that I have seen such rules instituted down here.
Maybe working with the city instead of a guerrilla approach would be more productive. See Vancouver's urban fruit orchard blossoms in city parks, golf courses, Vancouver Sun, July 6, 2012. The article mentions the problems Ron B stated, and also the need for people to adopt and care for fruit-bearing trees.