Focus on Sustainability: New Tree Trail

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A new tree trail program has been established in Glendale. The tree trail would promote programs to care for trees and give information about water conservation. Jo Miller of the Glendale Water Conservation Office will tell us more.

Ted Simons: Tonight in our continuing coverage of sustainability issues, we hear about a trail of trees in Glendale. Here to tell us more about it is Jo Miller, environmental program manager for the city of Glendale. Good to have you here.

Jo Miller: It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about this trail. Where is it located?

Jo Miller: It's at the Glendale Xeriscape Garden at the main library.

Ted Simons: Where is that?

Jo Miller: That's 5959 west brown. It's like in the heart of Glendale.

Ted Simons: So it coincides with the XERiscape demonstration garden and the library?

Jo Miller: Correct. We consider it a kind of a community hub. These people come to get books and also enjoy the garden.

Ted Simons: What kind of trees do you have here on this particular trail?

Jo Miller: Obviously we're going -- In a sense we're about water conservation, we're going to demonstrate different trees that are good for low water use.

Ted Simons: And they were selected for that purpose?

Jo Miller: Yes. In this particular tree trail, our garden's been around since 1993. And trends in urban -- Trends and urban landscaping have changed since then in that we have slightly smaller lots, with slightly larger homes. So some of the trees -- We started realizing the trees we were displaying maybe a little bit too big for some of the urban lots. So the tree trail was developed with displaying small and medium size treats that fit our urban lots better.

Ted Simons: There's information, there are little stands along the trail to tell you what you're looking at and what water needs and the whole nine yards, right?

Jo Miller: Yeah. We actually -- We surveyed homeowners at some of our classes and asked them what information they needed for proper tree care. And from that information we got an illustrator and we illustrated five signs on proper tree care.

Ted Simons: And correct me if I'm wrong, you have the latest in irrigation technology, and something called basin style planting? What's that all about?

Jo Miller: Yes. People ask this a lot about rain water harvesting. So we thought a good opportunity once we -- We got a grant to put the tree trail in, and it was a water conservation grant. So collecting rain water was -- Is part of that water conservation message. And so we're displaying building wide, but shallow basins to help water the trees.

Ted Simons: Interesting. And is that kind of watering better for the low water plants as opposed to a Sycamore or something like that?

Jo Miller: Well, any tree is going to -- What we say is the drip system will keep it alive, but if you collect rain water it will help it thrive.

There you go. You mentioned the garden had been there for a while. Was the trail always -- How did all this thing get together?

Jo Miller: Well, the garden had been around for a while, and we had an area that had gotten heavily hit by frost a few years back when we had a heavy frost like we did this winter. And so the grant became open for the bureau of reclamation, and we thought it was a really good fit, and it was something people were asking us a lot about. We realized that people got the message and responded much better when we can take them out and do hands-on demonstration than setting them in a lecture hall and telling them what kind of things to do with their trees.

Ted Simons: And there are tours, right? You have tours for school kids and for homeowners and everyone in between I would imagine?

Jo Miller: Definitely. We see it as a training for municipal staff, for professional landscapers, and for homeowners, and we love to take the kids out on the tours.

Ted Simons: I'm sure they love it too. It's probably a lot of fun. Is this a long trail? Is it a difficult hike at all? Is there -- Is there a mileage post somewhere? How does that work?

Jo Miller: It's pretty small. We put some contours in it so it feels like hiking out in the desert, but it's really about 10,000 square feet total.

Ted Simons: That's it, OK. That's relatively manageable.

Jo Miller: Yes. So if you dot whole garden, we have four acres. It's just one section of the entire XERiscape garden.

Ted Simons: If you're thinking of planting trees in your garden thinking of XERiscape or just want to know what's out there, not only how to plant but how to water, it's all there, correct?

Jo Miller: Yes. It's now on our signage, we have a tree website, the grant also gave us the opportunity to develop educational materials which included a pretty extensive tree website.

Ted Simons: What kind of response have you had so far?

Jo Miller: Enthusiastic. We had a grand opening, and we have to date had over 3,000 people there, and we have partnered with APS and SRP for their shade and tree giveaways, so we've given out over 3,000 trees.

Ted Simons: That's fantastic. Give us -- Are there hours of operation? Does the trail ever close?

Jo Miller: It's sun up to sundown.

Ted Simons: OK. And do you have to pay to get --

Jo Miller: no. It's absolutely free. Bring the kids, bring the dog, take a walk. We have a lot of domestic wildlife there too that is a favorite of the kids. Peacock and Guinea hens and things like that.

Ted Simons: The nearest parking lot is the library?

Jo Miller: Oh, yeah. Get out of your car and it's steps away.

Ted Simons: You can look at a bunch of trees and do some research on them if you feel like pursuing.

Jo Miller: Exactly.

Ted Simons: Congratulations. It sounds like quite a success. Continued good fortune with it.

Jo Miller: Thank you very much.

Jo Miller:Glendale Water Conservation Office;

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