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Idea to Irrigate San Vicente Medians Could Help Coral Trees

The plans to save the iconic trees in Brentwood are still being finalized and needs volunteer funding.

A preliminary irrigation plan for Brentwood's approximate 130 coral trees along San Vicente Boulevard is getting finalized, but necessary funding and city involvement still needs to happen to make it a reality. 

With mounting concern over the future of the historic trees and one falling on San Vicente Boulevard earlier this year across a traffic lane, efforts are being made locally to find the best option at sustaining them.

Nancy Freedman and Teri Redman Kahn of the environmental committee for the Brentwood Community Council reported this month they have a cost estimate and design for a new irrigation system. Overwatering of the South African-native coral trees, which thrive best in drought conditions, has caused them to often grow fungus and "implode." The concept for the irrigation system will water the grass, not the trees directly, and save water with mulch spread in the middle third of the median, according to Freedman.

"It is the best solution according to knowledgeable people in this field," Freedman said in an e-mail this week.

Redman Kahn said a local arborist explained the San Vicente medians are in a situation where the grass needs a certain amount of water, but the ground is already very saturated, and the current sprinkler system hits the coral trees from three different directions. The tree trunks are not supposed to be hit with water at all.

"We’re going to lose them all if we don’t maintain a maintenance schedule," she said, noting that when the cambium layer of trees become "super saturated" it sheds its skin, so to speak, and suffers a premature death. 

"We’re creating a very sick condition for these trees," Redman Kahn added. "They are ailing."

The environmental committee has spent the last year approaching mending the situation from all angles, such as watering reduction, changing sprinkler heads, until they came to the irrigation proposal.

Donations to the Brentwood Coral Tree Endowment Fund can be made on 
www.brentwoodcommunitycouncil.org.

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