They’ve been called names. And the planting of palm trees in San Francisco can be a polarizing issue. An issue that might be short lived, for as a plugged-in reader editorializes and educates:

The palms won’t be there much longer. The city has fired all their educated arborists. Those who are left trim them to that odd pineapple shape while the fronds are still green and alive. A fusarium-type wilt then infects the palm and it slowly dies. At least 3 have died since the last trimming – that’s what killed the dead palms around Justin Herman Plaza.

A Most Unfortunate Quote [SocketSite]
A Plugged-In Reader’s Report: Third Street Sprouts Some Trees [SocketSite]
The Impact Of 8 Washington [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    It would be cheaper to hire an arborist than replace a bunch of trees that cost $7k each!

  2. Posted by pretty sure it's a conspiracy

    It would be cheaper to hire an arborist than replace a bunch of trees that cost $7k each!
    But less profitable to the people that get kickbacks from the palm-tree sellers, I’m sure.

  3. Posted by Joe

    Hyperbole alert. All the palms in SF are going to die because the city lost its arborists?
    Yeah. no.

  4. Posted by Bob

    Good grief. Kickbacks from the palm tree sellers?
    Who knew we had an active palm tree mob in San Francisco.
    Did you hear the story of the arborist with the broken kneecaps?

  5. Posted by BobN

    Have you visited your nearby park recently? The City seems hell bent on killing the parks through neglect and incompetence. Even the lawn trimmers don’t seem to grasp the basics of lawn care.

  6. Posted by Happy in SF

    I’d support privatizing the park management and maintenance, as we’ve done at Mission Creek Park (in Mission Bay). It’s so much nicer than Lafayette Park, which I lived next to for several years.

  7. Posted by Rillion

    Hey the grass at Kimbell field looks nice and trimmed. Of course the fact that its not grass helps I guess.

  8. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    “…I’d support privatizing the park management and maintenance, as we’ve done at Mission Creek Park (in Mission Bay). It’s so much nicer than Lafayette Park, which I lived next to for several years.”
    I’ve always been very struck by how well-maintained the parks in Mission Bay are compared with the regular city parks, and I’m sure the contracting out has a lot to do with it. But what happens if, as looks likely, Redevelopment gets phased out?

  9. Posted by MM2

    Let’s talk budget cuts. Parks & Rec has had their budget slashed for the past five years. Gardeners and teachers have been marked as extraneous, so have been laid off or mandated reduced hours and/or expanded work times/areas.
    Palm trees were installed because they are marketed as low maintenance, when, like all plants, they need upkeep. Especially in their non-native habitat, a foggy city, palms need regular fertilizing, special grow lights and routine pruning and root control.
    Palms really are “high rises for rats” which hollow out the center and create multi-rat-family burrows. From a 2000 Real Estate Brokers Association article. “Roof rats (the most common rat in SF) are excellent leapers. They can jump vertically 36″, horizontally 48″, and can bound eight feet from a tree to a house. … These creatures have become more prevalent in our area in the past 15 years.”
    Although inter-species breeding is usually ineffective, in the SF Bay Area Norway rats now breed with Roof or Wharf rats. Guess where they love to live…palm trees. Fronds hold ratty weight better than flowering, fruit and needle tree branches do and because there are no bird nests for angry rat killing birds to defend.

  10. Posted by joe

    Ridiculous. So every palm that is in SF, needs a grow light?
    BS

  11. Posted by Tom

    Yeah, you don’t need grow lights to grow things outdoors. That doesn’t even make sense. Those palm trees have been planted in SF since the Victorian era, before they even invented grow lights. Plus, there, like, aren’t any grow lights to be seen anywhere, because it doesn’t make sense. Those palms are from the Canary Islands, not the tropics, and they are very adaptable to salty, windy conditions. They grow anywhere the temperature never drops below 20 degrees, which is far lower than the coldest temperature recorded in SF history.
    Generally, those palms are lower maintenance than street trees that need branch trimmings, leaf cleanup, etc., and they are drought tolerant to boot.

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