The City of Rohnert Park on Wednesday, March 1, will begin replacing 83 unhealthy trees along Country Club Drive with new Chinese pistache trees.
The Rohnert Park City Council last year approved removing the unhealthy honey locust trees in three landscape medians at the northern end of Country Club Drive, from Eleanor Drive to Emily Drive. The tree replacements will be phased in over three years to avoid a barren look. The first phase will remove 25 trees, to be followed by the planting of 25 replacement trees within several weeks. All of the expenses will be covered by developer fees paid to replace trees lost because of new construction.
“This project will help to improve the look of one of our city’s most-travelled streets year-round,” Councilman Amy Ahanotu said. “I’m particularly looking forward to the first time we see the colors change with the new Chinese pistache trees, which will bring a new sense of beauty to our City.”
The cost to replace the trees comes with a price tag of $41,825, but none of that money would come from the city’s general fund. Rohnert Park’s tree removal account, funded by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, developers and residents. The city requires businesses or residents who cut down new or healthy trees to pay into the fund or replace the trees.
A total of $30,000 has been designated from that account to pay for the replacements, and the rest of the money would be taken from the account in future years.
The honey locust trees must be replaced because, according to a city staff report filed last year, they are not suitable to grow in an environment with turf and the irrigation associated with keeping the turf healthy.
The decision was previously made to keep turf on the landscape medians, and Rohnert Park installed smart irrigation controls for more efficient water use.
The city plans to convert these medians from potable to recycled water in the near future. However, even with a more efficient irrigation system, the frequent watering needed for turf creates an unhealthy environment for the honey locust.
Honey locust trees thrive with infrequent, but deep watering but the turf on Country Club Drive requires frequent, shallow watering. As a result, many of the honey locust trees are inhibited in growth, visually unattractive, unhealthy and even dying.