March 4, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Shorts: Tree Trimming Underway Thanks to the Vsa!

VSA Has Taken up the Task of Trimming Italian Stone Pine Trees.

By Nick Antonicello

Following the recent toppling of a large pine tree that closed Venice Way for several days after the recent storms, the Venice Stakeholders Association (www.venicestakeholdersassociation.org) has taken the lead to protect, trim and prune the Italian Stone Pines that surround the Venice U.S. Post Office.

“The Venice Action Committee, with leadership from Jim Murez and Ed Barger, organized about 200 Venice residents and Tree People volunteers to plant 21 Stone Pines around the Post Office some 30 years ago. Now they provide a stately canopy around the site, but are at risk of toppling over in high wind events,” noted Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association who also assisted in this community endeavor.

“About a month ago an even larger pine on Venice Way, planted at the same time as the Stone Pines, toppled over and blocked the street for a couple days; another pine on Venice Way toppled over last year during a storm and totaled a car. This recent event reminded me that the pines around the Post Office are at similar risk because their limbs and needles have grown very dense and act like a sail, catching storm winds, which in effect cause them to capsize like a sailboat would.  The fact that the soil is saturated from the high amount of rainfall sets up the conditions for them to fall,” offered Ryavec.

The VSA, a non-profit corporation, raised the funds from residents to hire a tree trimming firm with an arborist on staff to assure that “best practices” are employed in the trimming process.

The firm will trim eight trees; five on Grand and three on Riviera.

Italian Stone Pines are a resilient tree that has a lifespan of 50 to 150 years. The species has a height of 40’ to 80’ feet and are 20’ to 40’ feet wide. The botanical name of the tree is Pinus, or Umbrella Pine, and is very prevalent in the Mediterranean region, primarily Italy and Sicily.

A member of the Pinaceae family, the Italian Stone Pine is part of the Plantae Kingdom.

We would like to trim more trees, on Grand, Windward and on Venice Way, if we receive more donations, which are tax deductible and can be made via Zelle by e-mailing venicestakeholders@ca.rr.com

Ryavec noted that the Venice Action Committee has since disbanded, but feels a personal responsibility for their selection of the Italian Stone Pines, having chosen the species of pine and led the initial planting. 

“My dad and sister participated in the planting; the teams planting the trees gave each one a name, and one they planted, the last one on Windward at Riviera, was named after my aunt Lucy, who had passed away recently,” Ryavec said.

“I chose the Italian Stone Pines because they are reputed to grow anywhere, even out a crack in solid stone, and to survive even in the brackish water in Venice’s high water table. However, they are still susceptible to extremely high winds, just like other pines and Eucalyptus.”

Eli Johnson of the Johnson Tree Company (www.johnsontreecompany.com) provided the assistance and labor and they can be reached at (310) 383-5700 or info@johnsontreecompany.com

Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident of Venice and member of the Outreach & Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council. Have a tip or a take on all things Venice? Contact hm via e-mail at nantoni@mindspring.com

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