Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Dying Trees on Turk Street

What's killing the street trees on the north side of Turk Street? Lack of water and lack of care certainly; lack of a plan evidently. Last January or February that much-too-wide expanse of asphalt, a.k.a. Turk Street, was graced with more than thirty street trees planted between Broderick and Central on the north side. Neighbors noted the 20 foot Ash Fraxines
trees standing tall and erect like a row of soldiers ready to enliven this traffic corridor while they did their environmental duty.

But now the once bright green leaves are browning and most branches have lost all their leaves. The Department of Public Works' Bureau of Urban Forestry used a contractor to plant the trees, but neither the contractor nor the city had a plan for watering the trees. One Turk Street neighbor reports that the trees haven't been watered even once.
Greening San Francisco makes little sense when a project literally goes Brown.

The city maintains trees planted along certain streets but not others. According to the city Street Tree Map, the city is responsible for street trees on both sides of Turk Street from Laguna to Broderick; further west from Broderick, tree care is the responsibility of the property owner. But many of the residences along this stretch are perched high above on the Anza Heights cliff -- not exactly easy to water the trees below. And it's not clear that the property owners were even notified of the new plantings that were placed by a city contractor.

DPW reports that city foresters are aware of the problem. The department's Urban Forester, Carla Short, is now managing the contract and is trying to get the trees watered on a regular basis. But for now, the trees continue to die for lack of water.

If you're concerned about the dying trees on Turk Street, call 311 and request that DPW develop a long-term plan as well as providing immediate relief to save the trees. You can also contact the Bureau of Urban Forestry at 641-2676. Urban Forester Carla Short can be reached at 641-2674.


  1. Hi, I'm so glad and hopful knowing people who care for environmental damage.
    All the best. :)

  2. note that in the past few weeks after concern has been raised about the trees, the overgrowth and collected litter has been cleaned from the sidewalk edge all along the affected area. Did DPW do this (they have in years past in reaction to 311 complaints) AND still not water the trees? Most of the Anza Vista property owners are totally disconnected from maintaining this sidewalk, much less the trees!

  3. Hi Betty!
    Thanks, Doug; yes the city did clean up along the curb and sidewalk and it does look better, except of course for the dying trees.