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Our TREE-mendous partnership with Fulton - El Camino Recreation & Park District

By Pamela Sanchez, Education Programs Manager

December 1, 2016

On a fine sunny fall day, a group of staff from the Fulton - El Camino Recreation and Park district, local community members, and an STF arborist met together at Howe Community Park -- all to learn more about pruning young shade trees. It was a huge success! After an indoor classroom portion, we grabbed our pruners, loppers, and saws and headed out into the park to practice what we learned on real trees. I was so impressed with the group's excitement about our subject, and eagerness to start trimming and help these young trees thrive. Simple cuts made annually from the first winter, to about 7 years in the ground, make an amazing difference in setting a tree up to be strong, healthy, and beautiful when mature. Together we pruned 5 trees, all the while discussing the merits of removing or reducing this branch or that branch, and the right place to make a good cut. A young and energetic Frontier elm was the most challenging – and therefore fun! – tree of the morning. With multiple main trunks, and very vigorous low, side branching, this tree provided lots of opportunity for making pruning decisions. The toughest lesson: there is often no single right answer of what to cut and what to keep, but many potential paths to get similar results on one tree and it comes down to choosing your favorite. I am so proud of the trees and how great they look and how much easier they will be for the park staff to maintain in the future, and even prouder of all the learning that took place!

The Tree Foundation has been partnering with the Fulton - El Camino staff at Howe park for a number of years now with a program to plant Tribute Trees. The trees pruned during this pruning workshop were all past tribute trees! Community members can purchase a tree to be planted in honor or a loved one or a special event, and STF works with the park to set up a private planting event. This can be a very special way to pay tribute to someone, and if desired, a plaque can be installed in addition. STF is grateful to have this long-running partnership with the park who maintains the trees. And we are thrilled to now offer pruning classes at the park as well, and plan to make hands-on workshops like this an annual event here. Thanks again to everyone who participated in the recent pruning workshop to make this such a successful day. More pruning classes are coming up this season, and we would love to see you there.

This was not the first time we STF has worked together with the Howe Park staff – two years ago the entire staff of the Tree Foundation got together at Howe Park to volunteer our time and help make a difference for the trees! We spent a full morning weeding around trees, spreading mulch around them, pruning the young trees for structure and clearance, and so much more. I’m grateful for our long term partnership with the wonderful staff at Fulton – El Camino!