Can’t Cut the Mustard
The best part of a drive to San Diego is the portion of the journey through Camp Pendelton. The Marines have done a wonderful job of preserving the base as nature made it.
It’s a vista of native California that underscores how much we change the places we arrive in. No matter how much we like a new place, we always strive to make it like the place we came from. Then we sit back and bask in the glory of what a fine job we’ve done keeping it natural.
An environmentalist friend insisted that after 500 years presence the invasive mustard plant, imported by the Spanish missionaries, should be given a green card and considered a native. No mustard in Camp Pendelton.
A striking aspect of the ecology of native coastal California hillsides is the absence of trees. You don’t see any on that drive across the base. None on Guna Peak in North Laguna either. Nor mustard as well. Your water district spent a lot of money restoring that hillside to real native condition. It was a vital part of making the area a portion of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
Lately people who should know better have declared a love of the Australian eucalyptus tree. It’s like the smart girl starting to date the class delinquent. It can’t end well.
The thing that recommended eucalyptus to early settlers was the fact they grew fast and didn’t require much water.
Some say eucalyptus are a good source of fuel. The only time eucalyptus burns well is in a fireplace with a gas jet or in a wildfire.
What the eucalyptus does do well is grow so big so quickly that it becomes prohibitively expensive to properly maintain. Then one windy night it drops a big branch on your car, house or kills somebody.
That’s the real reason most people don’t want to trim trees. It isn’t the shade, beauty or privacy. It’s the money.
When trees are too costly to maintain they become dangerous to the health and safety of the people and property adjacent to them. The hazard keeps growing.
Our city’s new tree policy is a tragic accident waiting to happen. We’ve added an expensive public hearing permit process to the cost of dealing with dangerous trees. Now nobody is going to want to do the right thing.
For the money, the best eucalyptus trimming tool is the Carlton Hurricane 250 horsepower, diesel powered, track mounted, remote controlled stump grinder. Made by Australians who know a thing or two about eucalyptus trees.
JJ Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11yrs old. He has loved it ever since.