Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Volunteers wrap up Russell Boulevard Tree Project

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From page A3 | November 19, 2013 | 5 Comments

tree mulchW

Spreading mulch on established trees near Fairfield School are, from left, Ashley Levanduski, Samantha Wheeler and Vivian Lee, all volunteers from Kappa Gamma Delta sorority at UC Davis. The organization for students in health care fields was established at UCD in 1994 and now also has chapters at UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley. Courtesy photo

Twenty-five Tree Davis volunteers, led by director Keith McAleer, planted 45 valley oak trees on Saturday, Nov. 9, along the bike path west of Davis on Saturday as part of the Russell Boulevard Tree Project.

The Russell bike path now has trees planted alongside it from County Road 98, “Cactus Corner” to County Road 95A, near Three Palms Nursery. The trees have been planted since 2009 and include several species of oak as well as sycamore, olive and buckeye.

In addition to the tree plantings, volunteers also put mulch around some of the trees that had been planted in previous years near Fairfield School, on Russell Boulevard at County Road 96.

“The mulch will help maintain precious moisture for the trees as well as providing them with nutrients,” said Dave Muffly, master arborist for the project. “It may also help reduce rodent damage to the trees’ beds.”

The Russell Boulevard Tree Project has been guided by the advice of Muffly, based in Palo Alto, who has been donating his time and expertise to the project for the past two years.

Funding for the planting and mulching event was provided by Soroptimist International of Davis, which gave Tree Davis a generous donation for the project’s bike path plantings.

The 45 valley oak trees were donated by the L.A. Moran Reforestation Center on Chiles Road in Davis, which is managed by Rich Marovich, streamkeeper for the Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee.

The holes for the trees had been augered the day before by Dan Garrett of Garrett Landscaping of Davis with his Bobcat tractor. Garrett also distributed mulch to each of the planting sites, which made the volunteers’ work much easier the following day. The mulch had been donated by Shawn Guzik of West Coast Arborist and Sean Cookman of Yolo County Arborist.

Phil Kitchen of Three Palms Nursery donated water for the project, as well as continuing to donate water for the trees on an ongoing basis, which in this drought year has been quite substantial, said Janet Mercurio, project coordinator.

“We are very grateful to all the volunteers, donors, Yolo County and so many others who have helped make this project a success over the past four years,” Mercurio said. “In the coming years, we hope to continue planting trees along Russell Boulevard as it heads west toward Winters.”

Enterprise staff

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Discussion | 5 comments

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  • Rich RifkinNovember 19, 2013 - 5:51 pm

    All of the trees planted along Russell from Road 98 to Road 95A in the last few years are right next to the bike path. Is there any reason to be concerned that, as these trees mature, they're roots will upend the asphalt surface of the bike path and will be a maintenance nightmare for the County, having to continually fix cracks in the path or put users of the path in danger due to poor maintenance? Isn't that pretty much the problem that the City of Davis has had with the Howard Reese Comemmorative Bike Path, which is next to all the old walnut trees?

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  • MartinNovember 19, 2013 - 9:28 pm

    Rich, you're correct to be concerned about the positioning of newly planted trees to the featured path. Each time I ride out there after enduring the Paris-Roubaix surface conditions of Russell Blvd path I wonder about the inevitable.

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  • Janet MercurioDecember 23, 2013 - 4:49 pm

    Thank you Rich and Martin for your comments about your concerns that the oaks' roots will cause problems for the adjacent bike path. Dave Muffly, our Master Arborist, responds that "...oaks are deep-rooted - I don’t see this ever being a problem. I bet the walnuts were established with flood irrigation, which brought the roots to the surface." The oaks' large tap roots should go straight down in search of water and not cause the path to be disturbed.

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  • Rich RifkinDecember 23, 2013 - 5:41 pm

    Thanks, Janet. I sure hope that's correct about the roots going straight down. I am very "pro-tree." I am a regular cyclist, and I very much appreciate the idea of the new trees planted along Russell. It takes awhile for them to grow into something exciting. But a similar planting was done along Old Davis Road some 15 years ago, and now, finally, they are looking great. ……...One other concern--as told to me by Rob Cain, the arborist for the city of Davis--is disease, due to the lack of species differentiation. Mr. Cain told me that is a part of the reason the walnut trees planted from Arthur to Cactus Corners on Russell are suffering thousand cankers disease, today. They look nice, being so uniform. But he said they would be healthier if there was more variety.

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  • Janet MercurioDecember 23, 2013 - 5:55 pm

    Rich - I couldn't agree more with Rob Cain. Dave Muffly and I wanted to plant a wider variety of oaks along the bike path but the County insisted that they be "native," even though with climate change upon us, as Dave Muffly points out, native plants won't necessarily do well here now or in the future. Dave had wanted to plant a hearty variety of red oak, and other hybrid varieties, but they were forbidden by the County. So we got as much diversity as they would allow us: coast live oak, valley oak, and blue oak - along with buckeye and sycamore, both of which are planted between Cactus Corner and County Rd. 97D. We've also tried to get a little more diversity by selecting acorns from a variety of "mother" trees. So let's hope this is enough diversity to prevent disease. I know we all hope so.

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