Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018
 

Castro Street tree well paving is permeable, says Wiener

When the new street trees along Castro Street were planted last year, the wells around the trees remained open.

When the new street trees along Castro Street were planted last year, the wells around the trees remained open.

As part of the streetscape improvement project along Castro Street, the city planted 63 street trees, mostly Columnar gingkos with a handful of King palms. When they debuted last fall, the dirt around the new greenery was left untouched.

In recent weeks landscape contractors the city hired to oversee the trees have been filling in the tree wells with a permeable substance.

But the work so closely resembles concrete that many people have been confused and think a mistake was made.

The issue has generated enough public feedback that District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro district, singled it out in his monthly newsletter that was emailed to constituents Thursday (April 30).

“We’ve heard from a number of concerned residents that the tree wells were being paved with concrete.  However, the substance in the tree wells isn’t cement, but rather stabilized decomposed granite (DG) per city standards,” wrote Wiener in his newsletter.

In recent weeks a permeable gravel has been added to the tree wells, though some have mistaken the substance for concrete. (Photo Craig Joyner)

In recent weeks a permeable gravel has been added to the tree wells, though some have mistaken the substance for concrete.
(Photo Craig Joyner)

The gray-colored DG was chosen to complement the color of the new wider sidewalks along the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street, explained Wiener. Yet the decision, he noted, has “led to confusion since most tree wells on San Francisco commercial corridors are paved with a gold-colored DG.”

The new surface treatment around the trees will not harm the plantings, he assured his constituents.

“Rest assured that stabilized decomposed granite is permeable, allowing air and moisture to penetrate assuring healthy roots and trees,” wrote Wiener.

In addition to the new trees dotting the expanded sidewalks along Castro Street, the city also installed new pedestrian light poles, history facts about the neighborhood, and 20 plaques honoring LGBT luminaries.

The landscape contractor is under contract to maintain the new trees for the next three years, according to Wiener’s note, as the trees become established.

In summer the ginkos bear yellow flowers, and come fall, their leaves turn a golden yellow. A deciduous tree, the ginkos shed their leaves in late fall.

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 1, 2015 @ 12:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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