Thanks to Virginia Wilson, New Trees Are Being Planted in Ocean Beach – and They’re Free

by on April 26, 2018 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

Brighton Ave.

She would attend every community meeting she could, and get up – usually during the non-agenda public comment period – and in her quiet voice, urge her fellow OBceans to sign up for a free tree. Virginia Wilson of Save Peninsula Trees did this for months and months. She handed out forms, went door-to-door on weekends with friends enlisting residents to commit to the small tasks needed in order to receive a city tree for free.

And now it’s paying off. Trees have been planted on the 4500 blocks of Brighton and Muir Avenues.

I spoke with one resident who found a handful of newly-planted loquat trees in the right-of-way along his property on Muir. He said it took basically 6 months from filling out the paperwork to having trees planted.

Brighton Ave.

Over on the 4500 block of Brighton, between Froude and Guizot, there’s rows of the new Orchid and Loquat trees.

Do you want your very own free tree? Here’s what the city site says:

Now you can get involved in the effort to increase our urban canopy by participating in the City of San Diego’s “Free Tree” program. This program allows residents to engage with the City for our mutual benefit by creating a more livable and beautiful environment.

San Diegans can get a new tree, free of charge – all you have to do is identify a space in the public right-of-way that could benefit from a new tree and request a tree either by emailing or calling 619-527-7500. City horticulturists will evaluate the space and determine an appropriate tree selection.

It’s a great deal – San Diegans can get a newly planted neighborhood tree appropriate for the community’s character for free and all we ask in return is that you sign a watering agreement vouching to water the tree for three years while it grows.

Muir Ave.

This is a great deal, and thanks to Virginia and her colleagues in Save Peninsula Trees, Ocean Beach and parts of Point Loma are becoming greener. Part of the city’s efforts to “increase our urban canopy”.

Ironically, Save Peninsula Trees was begun after Virginia and a whole bunch of other OBceans and supporters lost the battle to save a couple of Torrey Pines on Saratoga Avenue – cut down by the very city that now wants to increase our canopy. There was a lot of canopy on the 4600 block of Saratoga before the buzz saws did their work. It was quite a sordid affair. Just goes to show you that good things can grow out of bad.

And, oh, by the way ….

Thank you, Virginia Wilson.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist April 26, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Absolutely wonderful!! What a joy to see this happen! And with luck and continued persistence, OB will also see Torrey pines planted down along Sunset Cliffs.

Feeling deeply grateful to Virginia, Colleen, and all the folks with SPT, and Anne Fege with the City’s Urban Forestry Program for keeping this momentum going :-)

And thanks also to the OB Rag and Green Center for keeping the importance of the community’s trees on people’s radars- these trees are some of our most precious commodities, and they reflect such a wonderful, easy and positive solution to many of our environmental problems- heat, air quality, pollution, wildlife habitat, and sheer psychological uplifting! Big kudos to you all! :-)


Detour April 26, 2018 at 8:44 pm

The city has planted some trees recently on Larkspur St. too.


kh April 26, 2018 at 9:30 pm

Thank you so much for your commitment to keeping OB beautiful and green!


Dave April 27, 2018 at 12:05 am

Very cool – would also love to see some new Torrey pines going in…


Christo April 27, 2018 at 8:48 am

I was working in my front yard when a gentleman stopped by and asked me if I was interested in having the city pay for and install trees in the right of way in front of my house. He promised me that I could choose what tree(s) I wanted from a city supplied list and that I could choose where the tree(s) went in the right of way (as I have walkways from the sidewalk to the street and there are 6 potential planters- but 3 of them could block a view I wanted to preserve). I gladly filled out the paperwork for the trees and was told it could be a while until the city did something with my request.

6 month laters I got a phone call from the city. They wanted to confirm my willingness to water the tree(s). When I asked about the list of trees and told them I wanted to specify which of the 6 spaces I wanted to utilize- they said I had no choice in what or where they would plant- that was strictly up to the city.

I declined. I am still going to plant trees in some of those spaces- but I will plant the appropriate tree where I choose.

I still think it’s a great program- but in the long run I wanted greater control over the what and where.


PL tree program user April 27, 2018 at 10:56 am

We had some free street trees put in a few years ago and they are doing great. I got the idea to apply from a story on The OB Rag. Thanks!


Val April 27, 2018 at 11:45 am

There has been some new plantings on the 5000 block of Lotus! I was wondering where they came from. LOVE IT!! Thank you Virginia for reminding folks about this.


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