Tuesday, June 25, 2019

What do Tree Trimming & Solar Industries have in common ???

Most of the Experts behind those industries more often than not have no clue as to what they are really doing 😟
Image from May 2019 - Google Earth

Image from Sept 2005
Las Pilitas Native Plant Nursery
Well, it's Springtime in SoCal when Google Earth updated this street photo in May 2019. The trees (California Sycamores, Canary Island & Torrey Pines) behind the roofline of this house I grew up in all started out as six inch high seedlings in late 2005 when I planted them in September of that same year. The rapid growth of the Sycamores was facilitated by using a practice called, biomimicry, which is nothing more than replicating how nature under the right conditions causes deep rooted trees and shrubs, especially on ancient Bajadas or Alluvial Fans to thrive. This just happens to also be where most of SoCal's housing development is located. Many housing tracts in SoCal are located on former orange groves which were originally planted on alluvial fans at the foot of mountains. Alluvial Fans like floodplains are some of the most efficient geological formations for storing and holding massive amounts of water. Those Sycamore trees at my mum's place are no longer irrigated except during the rainy season. During summer, these water loving trees are tapped into the subsurface aquifer.

Image from summer of 2007

California Sycamores are almost two years old.

Image mine from 2011
The photo above from 2007 shows less than two year old Sycamore trees on a former floodplain or alluvial fan (see Lessons Learned from the Bajadas (Alluvial Fans)) Look how tall they are. Pay attention San Diego River restorationists. Decades ago I was curious how single solitary Sycamore trees thrived on rocky sandy boulder strewn floodplains where summer temps were always well over 100+ Fahrenheit (40+ celsius) far from any water course, let alone getting established in the first place. I found that heavy rainfall El Niño weather events with wetter than normal summer monsoon seasons were the reason. This can easily be replicated in any urban landscape. Generously deep root irrigate and after two years, simply taper off the available moisture gradually and force the rootsystems to go straight down. During the whole entire process keep a generous layer of mulch all around the trees extending several feet from the main trunk. Understand that all Sycamores, Fremont Cottonwoods, etc will go down 20' looking for moisture. They have built in mechansims for sensing and sniffing out available water. The photo on the right from 2011 shows well established very tall Sycamores with deep full shade on the ground below and deep cover of Sycamore leaves. They have a tremendous cooling effect where the back screen door is now left open and the prevailing westerly winds blow underneath the cool tree canopy and into the house and out the front door screen. The industrial air conditioner as seen in the top Google Earth photograph is rarely needed and saves electricity bill when not in service.

Fast forward to the past couple of years and sleezy slick Solar Panel salesmen are trying to convince my 87 year old Mother she needs to plaster solar panels all over her home's roof to save money and be considered more eco-green. What's more, a tree trimming company usually also shows up almost exactly the same time (Coincidence ???) as the solar panel salesman claiming for safety reasons she needs to top all her trees to the roofline, which will also make the Solar Panels more efficient at generating electricity. They feed her a line about how Sycamores are unstable and the giant tree limbs could break at any moment. So let's take the problem of Solar panels on her roof first.

Illustration - Healthy Family Newspaper

Image from SolarQuotes.com
First off, my mum's place has only one south facing roof slope and that is over the garage. The other roof slopes are both west and east facing as you can see in the photo at the top with the towering trees behind the house and therefore would be worthless as far as the ability to maximize electricity generation. No problem says the sleezy solar salesman, we can sell you solar tilt frames which will angle the panels to a more southerly exposure. Of course once again you would have to top those trees. Of course it'll look like nothing more than an eye sore industrial mess and curb appeal will be almost non-existent, but she'll certainly be 100% certifiable eco-green. Every single time my mother calls and says one of these home casing scumbags have told her she needs solar and tree topping, I get on the horn and make sure my siblings keep an eye out on what she does as far as decision making.
Then there is the Wildfire Hazard almost no eco-group will Discuss
Image - Australian Solar Care
All manner of debris ends up under these panels and as Eco-Groups demand solar on roofs, they rarely touch on this hazard after lecturing people about spark (embers) arresters on attic vents, keeping rain gutters clear, etc. And it's not just fallen leaves, it's also birds and little animal critters who find them attractive to move debris under to build nesting sites.
Google Search = Leave Litter under Solar Panels 

Spring of May 2019 - Google Earth

Okay here it is again folks. Above photo is May 2019 of this year and photograph on right is house stucco renovation in the Fall of 2018. Note the height of the trees. The California Sycamores are on the left, Canary Island Pines in the middle and on the right is the Torrey Pine which finally matured enough to reach subsoil moisture and over the last couple of years has amazingly grown three or four foot a year. Both the tree trimming companies and Solar Panel installers want my mother to top all those trees (Sycamores & Pines) at roof level and install Solar Panels so she'll be eco-green and *cough-cough* save money. Problem is, since the trees have grown bigger, the backyard patio area has never been more pleasant, shady & cooler. It's like an Oasis. Cutting them down to size would completely elevate the backyard temperatures, plus added temp increase on the roof would rise by several degrees more because black solar panels create heat islands. In otherwords they create what they are meant to reverse, global warming. That giant industrial airconditioning unit with the trees is rarely used, but the sales pitch to my mother was that once the trees were removed, the *cough-cough* free energy from the Sun would be able to run the unit and the house would always be pleasant. The house was built in 1956, no insulation and old technology crank windows. Fortunately the windows have all be replaced with dual pane windows which have also made a huge difference. They also had insuation blown into the attic crawl space when none ever existed previously. The only things left with no insulation are the walls and underneath the floors.But getting to the tree trimming, this is another area of annoyance for me over the years.

Image from Google Earth May 2019

An old high school friend of mine has a dad who own's this JB Mills Insurance Agency building and all the other office rentals within. This is on Broadway in El Cajon, California, just east of Ballantyne street. The photo on the right is from the Dentist office Advert of my high school buddy Randolph P. Mills and the building is where his office resides in. In the photo on the right you can clearly see the California Sycamore has been topped off which is the way tree companies like dealing with many large trees. It's fast and more convenient for them, just to chop, hack, packup and go on their merry way to the next job. For me, tree trimming was more of an art form when I did it. It was actually one of my favourite assignments. Lawn care was my nightmare. When you are done, the tree or shrub should not look like it's just been trimmed, but naturally sculpted to picturesque shape and form. This is the way nature works with trees, especially strong healthy Sycamores. But this irresponsible tree topping technique was started back in the late 1960s & early 1970s and has been practiced ever since. In the top photo you can see where water sprout branches have shot up like a rocket given the massive trunk and root infrastructure which will trigger an explosion of new growth in response to the attack. The USA in many cities and towns have above ground utility poles which must have their corridor right-of-ways maintained for clearance. Doesn't take much talent to chop-shop trees to keep corridors cleared, but the problem is this terrible practice has bled over into the maintaining all landscape trees in urban landscapes where utilities are nonexistent.
Cartoon Animations Below Illustrate the Problems with Tree Professionals





Sunset Terrace Apartments - Bradley Ave, El Cajon, California
Image - apartments.com

Image - rent.com
Nothings changed for the better in property management. The place above is a commercial apartment building next to the complex I worked at. In the beginning (2002) I remember the Sycamore trees were so huge and majestic looking, almost completely shaded the front of the entire apartment complex and the various carports in the back. Every other year since, they have hired the same tree company to cut back hard and top all these trees into an unnatural form. In the photo on the right here, you can see the untouched Sycamore on the left and a previous months topping and regrowth that same year. Tree companies have no care as to time of year they ravage your trees. Let's face it, they need work year round. This same company hacked the trees along the propertyline of both our properties because the SDG&E telephone-power poles ran along a storm drainage ditch in between both commercial residential complexes. One memorable tree grossly hacked and chopped to a 20' tall stump was a beautiful large spreading and tall Shamel Ash. The biggest problem with tree trimming in Summer heat is that trees naturally respond to injury with extremely rapid growth to replace what was lost. Because of such rapid tender growth, much of growth is succulent sweet and ripe for predation by pest insects, pathogens, powdery mildews, etc. The usual tannins and alkoloids which make most foliage bitter and distasteful to such pest do not exist yet. So it's like a massive thanksgiving feast for them. This happened to the Shamel Ash which never ever recovered and had to be completely taken out. Some fault of course lies with the Homeowner or landscaper who makes a bad choice in nursery tree selection with no foresight taken into consideration of what future consequences may eventually exist, especially near and around power poles.

As usual, lessons are rarely learned in our times. You think things would improve with newer understanding but they don't. Both the chopping of trees and installation of massive solar infrastructure continue as mankind's only hope for reversing climate and weather degradation. But the same ignorance and lack of forethought is employed in using a technology which is still less than efficient for the amount of area footprint it requires which is still a major problem. Hardly any single environmental activist group will raise a whisper when forests are eliminated and trees chopped down because a massive solar farm will take the forest's place. But cut those same trees down for an industrial mining operation, oil exploration or natural gas fracking venture and as the saying goes, "There's usually all Hell to Pay."


Image from Basin and Range

How much longer will humans put their blind trust in this World's Credentialed Elites to problem solve ??? 😔
"Expectation postponed makes the heart sick."  
​—Prov. 13:12.


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