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Parkway Trees

Parkway Trees

Our beautiful, tree lined streets, provide the shady canopies of green that make Hancock Park a park.  When Hancock Park was developed in the1920’s the builders planted a beautiful young forest of elms, sycamores and fir trees.  Now, 100 years later, the trees are reaching the end of their lifespans.  And, with the added pressures from repeated droughts, new insects and diseases have damaged and killed many of these trees.  Thanks to our Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, our parkway trees are protected, and if one dies, we can replant.  Remember, trees are important not only to maintain the look of our beautiful historic neighborhood and landscape, but are also a critical part of the natural infrastructure that preserves the lives of ourselves, our children, wildlife and the planet.  (https://www.treepeople.org/tree-benefits and https://la.curbed.com/2018/6/6/17394448/los-angeles-trees-removal-climate)    In 2018 with guidance from a certified arborist and UFD we developed a Master Tree Plan which includes a specific new tree species for each block.  This plan for our neighborhood was adopted by the City and HPOZ Board.    The Association will be planting new parkway trees and replacing missing palms on the median during the winter months.  If you are missing a parkway tree you should have gotten an email from the Association asking your permission to plant a beautiful, healthy tree; paid for by your Association dues, if youare in need of a parkway tree please contact: Deborah Trainer: DebTrainer@sbcglobal.net, Susan Grossman: segrossman@sbcglobal.net, or  Cindy Chvatal: snorekel@gamil.com 

                                                        New Parkway Tree Planting in Hancock Park!  


What is Happening?  

In January, 2019, as we have for the past several years, the HPHA’48 will begin to replace/replant our parkway trees and preserve our neighborhood canopy. We work in cooperation with the City, Urban Forestry and the Hancock Park HPOZ Preservation Plan.   These new trees may be a different variety than the kind already on your street.   

The Full Story

Tree-lined streets, with shady canopies of green, are what make Hancock Park an actual park. Over the years, drought and disease have damaged or killed many of these trees. In Hancock Park, all parkway trees are protected by the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) preservation guidelines.

Last year the Hancock Park Homeowners Association (HPHA’48) contracted a licensed, certified arborist to survey every tree in the neighborhood.  Together the Association Tree Committee and the City, developed a Master Tree Plan to reforest our parkways and created   tree species guidelines for each block.  We wanted trees that are drought and insect resistant— and a variety of trees, in case one kind develops disease, others will survive, trees with broad canopies, for shade and oxygenation, and we looked for beautiful trees, scaled to the neighborhood. Unfortunately, most of the varieties of trees now on our parkways can no longer serve as replacements due to their high water needs and susceptibility to insects/disease. 

This year’s plan is now complete and ready for action. If any homeowner currently has the need for a parkway tree the HPHA is prepared to purchase, plant and stake the new trees at no cost to the homeowners.   Going forward, additional trees will be planted, as needed and assuming funds are available and prioritized for this purpose.  

Frequently Asked Questions


  1.  What kinds of trees have been selected?  
  1. Several different varieties of trees have been selected including, Camphor, Magnolia, Chinese Elm, Jacaranda, Frontier Elm, Crepe Myrtle, Brisbane Box, Pioneer Elm and Deodar Cedar.  You can see pictures of these trees (in their mature state) in the attachment to this document. 
  2. Each block or street has been designated to receive a particular variety of tree for any future plantings.  You can see what kinds of trees are planned for your block by referring to the attached street chart.


2.              Was the Hancock Park Master Tree Plan approved by the City ?

Yes. It is our understanding that the homeowner “owns” the parkway but that the City has rights to oversee and regulate its use. Urban Forestry oversees parkway trees.   The trees to be planted have been approved by Urban Forestry and the HPOZ Board and City Planner.

3. Can I choose a different tree for the parkway of my home?  Can I plant my own trees?  Can I remove my parkway tree?

Only the tree species selected for your block can be planted, following the Hancock Park Master Tree plan. The trees will be planted to the City’s specifications by licenced crews.  Homeowners are not allowed to remove existing trees without City/ HPOZ approval which requires a certified arborist recommendation for removal, a report on the health of the tree, and a current photograph of the tree all of which to be presented to the HPOZ Planner.  No living healthy tree should ever be removed.

4.  Does this mean that our streets will have a variety of trees in the near future?  

Yes.  Since our plantings will be done only to replace missing trees, it may take many years to establish a consistent look for streets where a new variety has been selected.  In most cases, climate, insects and disease states of our neighborhood prevent the replanting of existing varieties of trees and it is infeasible to remove and replant existing healthy trees.   

5.  What size trees will be planted?  

The HPHA’48 will purchase and plant, healthy beautiful, 15-gallon size trees, an upgrade   

size from what the City normally plants in parkways.

6.  When will the trees be planted and who will do the planting?     We will begin planting in January 2019. All planting will be overseen by a certified arborist and licensed crews.

7.  What are the responsibilities of the homeowner?     

a.               Continue maintaining your parkway, which includes irrigating the trees, especially in the first three years after planting.  Even if you are no longer watering your parkway in an effort to be drought sensitive, it will be important for you to irrigate the trees especially during the first several months, deep watering at least once a week.  During the summer months the HPHA may use a watering truck to further irrigate the new trees.  

b.              Informing the HOA of death/damage/disease to any existing or newly planted trees.

c.              Informing the HOA of any missing parkway trees.  We are attaching a list of addresses where we are aware of missing trees.  Mistakes sometimes occur.  Please check the list and let us know if you are in need of a tree.  

d.              You can contact us at any time by emailing Deborah Trainer at Debtrainer@sbcglobal.net or Susan Grossman at segrossman@sbcglobal.net 

8.  Where is the funding to upgrade and plant the trees coming from?  

The funding is coming from the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, which means from your dues and donations.  Anyone not yet a dues paying member of the HP Homeowner Association should join us!  Please visit our website at:  www.Hancockparkhomeownersassociation.org and click on Membership/Dues. Donations are always welcome and can be specified to support our reforestation efforts.  

Tree Care

The following is some general information regarding the care of trees. The mature trees in Hancock Park are an important amenity that beautify the neighborhood and increase property values. Unfortunately, some of the mature street trees have either succumbed to disease or have otherwise reached the end of their lives and have had to be replaced. Fortunately, we have a good program lead by the Hancock Park Homeowners Association that plants replacement trees. However, the planting of replacement trees is only the first step in the long process of tree maturation. Think children growing up to become adults. In order for the young replacement trees to grow into the mature trees that we all appreciate and value requires that the young trees receive care and attention. The trees will not flourish without your help. A relatively small investment of your time and money will produce dividends for you and the generations that will come after you. If you do not do what is required for your trees, no one else will – the City of Los Angeles does not take care of street trees. Please do your part. Thank you.


A young tree develops a stronger trunk if it is unsupported and can sway in the wind. (the technical reason is that as the trunk moves in the breeze, it releases chemicals called cytokinins, which cause the cells in the trunk to enlarge and thicken, thereby strengthening the plant tissue.) However, trees that are container grown (almost certainly the type of young tree that is planted in parkways or gardens in Los Angeles) have been closely staked their entire existence and likely do not have the strength to stand alone without staking after replanting. Combine that with the potential for strong Santa Ana winds, and staking during the first six months or year is the prudent choice.

The tree should not be staked with a single stake immediately adjacent to the trunk – even though that may be the way the tree was staked in the nursery container. Beyond not giving the tree the motion it needs to strengthen, a stake driven immediately next to the trunk risks damaging the trunk and/or roots of the tree. Instead, two stakes should be used, placed on opposite sides of the trunk, each approximately 12-18 inches from the trunk (depending upon the size of the tree). Determine where to attach the ties by using your hand to find the place where support of the tree keeps it upright. Attach the ties about six inches above that point. Use soft ties that have broad smooth surfaces – available at nurseries. Leave some slack in the ties so that the tree can move about 2 inches in each direction – that will help strengthen the trunk. Do not use wire, rope or water hose filled with wire or rope – doing so can inhibit growth and girdle the trunk. Remove the stakes once the tree has sufficiently strengthened – approximately 6 months to one year after replanting.


Trees benefit from deep and thorough watering – sprinkling with a hose for a few minutes does not provide adequate irrigation. Likewise, just watering the very top of the soil encourages root growth at the surface rather than deeper in the soil. The frequency of required watering is greatest for a newly planted tree and diminishes as the tree matures. The roots of a newly planted tree have been restricted to the area of the tree’s container – as the tree grows the roots will spread. The following are rough guidelines for a 15 gallon tree (the size of the container) receiving about 15 gallons of water at each watering (a larger tree will require proportionally more water):

First month – water twice per week
Months two and three – water once per week
Months four through seven – water once every two weeks
Months eight through twelve – water once every three to four weeks
Years two through five – once every four to six weeks
After five years, an established tree may only require infrequent irrigation.

The foregoing are guidelines and may have to be varied depending upon actual conditions, including soil type, weather, etc. Too much water can be as harmful as too little. Check the soil for moisture level at a depth of about four inches – if it is very wet, do not water. The growth of your tree will be greatly affected by it receiving adequate (but not too much) water.


Mulching around the base of a tree has multiple benefits: (1) mulch insulates the soil helping to provide a buffer from heat and cold temperatures; (2) mulch helps the soil retain water, reducing the amount needed for irrigation; (3) mulch keeps weeds and grass out to help prevent root competition; (4) mulch prevents soil compaction; and (5) mulch reduces damage to the tree trunk from lawnmowers, string trimmers or other gardening equipment.

Place a 3 – 4 inch layer of mulch around the tree. The mulch should be kept away from the trunk – at least two inches. The mulch can extend out as far as the drip-line of the tree – the outermost circumference of the tree’s canopy. However, recognizing that may be more mulch that you want, a circle or square area of mulch that stretches 2 feet from each side of the trunk will still be beneficial. Mulch is commercially available from a variety of sources, including home improvement stores. Wood or bark chips are good tree mulch and can provide a well-manicured appearance. Use chips that are approximately 1-3 inches in size.


Trees can benefit from feeding (fertilizing) – it will help stimulate growth and better establish the trees. However, a newly planted tree should not be fertilized for a couple of months to let it first get acclimated to its new location. Most of the root activity through which trees draw in nutrients occurs in the top 12 or so inches of the soil. Among the possible ways to feed a tree are dry fertilizer spread on the surface around the tree and liquid fertilizer injected into the soil. Dry fertilizer should be spread evenly over the entire root zone which can extend two to three times the width of the branches. Remember that some of the root zone may have already been fertilized when fertilizer was applied to the lawn or planting bed under or adjacent to the tree. Sprinkle the fertilizer on top of the soil or mulch and water lightly. Since the fertilizer will quickly move through the mulch there is no need to remove it or to place the fertilizer below it. Do not dump dry fertilizer in piles – doing so can cause the roots below the fertilizer to be burned and die. Liquid fertilizer can be injected into the soil using a root feeder – the Ross Deep Root Feeder is available online or at garden and home improvement stores. This is the link to the Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ross-Root-Feeder-12044H/100328642#.UUjKHRdweSo. It uses solid fertilizer tablets that are dissolved in water in the feeder and the liquid is injected through the feeder’s injector spike. In Los Angeles, trees can be fertilized once in the spring and once in the fall – the tree roots continue to grow in the winter, even if the leaves fall off or appear dormant. Trees can be overfed – more is not better. Too much feeding can result in too much growth that is weak. Consult with a qualified nursery regarding which fertilizer to use. Do not use so-called “weed and feed” fertilizers that incorporate a herbicide for weed control – the herbicide can harm your tree.


Young trees require proper pruning to achieve a strong structure and desirable form. Among other things, a tree that is not pruned is going to be more susceptible to damage from the wind or other elements. A tree that is not properly pruned when it is young will require more difficult and frequent corrective action as it matures. Generally, the goal of pruning is to establish a strong central trunk with sturdy, well placed branches. Meaningful pruning – beyond the removal of dead or damaged branches – should usually wait for a couple of years after planting to allow the tree to fully recover from the shock of transplanting. Proper pruning requires training and skill and often is better left to a professional. In the case of parkway trees, the city will not prune on a regular basis and the burden is upon the homeowner to ensure that the trees are properly cared for, including pruning.

The two trees depicted below were planted at the same time, in approximately 2006. The tree on the right has received regular tree care, including watering, feeding, mulching and pruning (it was pruned shortly before the photo was taken). The tree on the left essentially has been uncared for since it was planted. The difference between the trees is obvious. The tree that has received proper care has a larger trunk, is much taller and fuller and has a better form. In seven years it has become a handsome tree that helps beautify its street. The tree that has not been regularly cared for still looks like a recently planted tree and if it can recover from its neglect will take many more years to develop into a meaningful street tree like the one on the right.

Tree Care and the Drought

Caring for trees in a drought!

Trees are generally the most valuable asset in the home and business landscape and when their health declines, the most difficult and expensive to replace. Considering their value, and the time needed to grow to maturity, ensuring the survival of shade trees should be a top priority for landscape professionals. According to local certified arborists, a typical large tree has a replacement value ranging from several to tens of thousands of dollars. During times of drought, landscape retention decisions should be made based on value, risk assessment, and the cost and ease of replacing assets of equivalent size.

With Governor Brown’s recent declaration “This [is an] emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.” It is imperative that we are able to both meet his call to action as well as preserve the irreplaceable mature tree canopy.

Steps for Conserving Water and growing Healthy trees

Whether trees are planted in turf, mixed beds, or alone, the following steps will help to conserve water while also improving the tree’s ability to utilize the water it
is offered.

Protect Your Parkway Trees!  Water them once a month.

* You can simply drag a hose to the drip line, to find the drip line look  up and see where the outer edge of your tree canopy is…and water slowly until the soil is damp 16 to 18 inched down.

Improve Soil Structure

Properly aerated soil is an essential factor for the functioning of a tree’s root system and water permeability.

* Remove excess soils burying the flare of the tree trunk in a careful manner to minimize damage to the root system.

* Remove rocks and other impervious materials from beneath the tree canopy.

* Aerate the lawn so that roots of mature trees are better able to access water and oxygen.

Reduce Competition

* Remove all weeds and grass within four feet of the base of young trees. For trees planted alone or in mixed beds, this is also recommended.


Leaves and chipped wood are ideal mulch materials. Organic mulch will break down and create nutrient-rich compost that will keep soil evenly moist, conserve water, and insulate roots while providing essential nutrients for the tree.

* Place mulch 4 to 6″ deep, keeping it 4″ away from the trunk, around all trees where the landscape allows.

Monitor Soil Moisture

* Place a shovel, small spade or a screw driver into the soil to a depth of 6–8″ (near the trunk for a young tree and under the drip line for a mature tree).

* Squeeze a handful of soil, if it feels dry and crumbly add water.

Please have a look at the important information in this article/link from Tree People! It provide information on how to care for trees during the  drought. We need to protect our tree canopy.




137 North Larchmont Boulevard # 719

Los Angeles, CA 90004

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