December 2021. By Oscar Ortega: We are on the verge of cuffing season for LA’s birds. In February, warblers, kinglets, gospeaks, sparrows and so many other feathered friends will follow the lead of our local hummingbirds and begin nesting, making them easy to find and befriend – and count!
We’ve created more than 1.5 million square feet of habitat and carefully maintain acres of LA tree canopy, aka nesting space. Here’s how.
Trim in Time
We maintain strict adherence to a tree care timeline, including specific timeframes for trimming. We trim only in the cooler months, as the cool helps trees defend against infection and infestation. When done prior to a tree’s growing season, it can help improve and maintain a tree’s form and aesthetic.
Trim to Structure
Hummingbirds are not alone in their preference for nesting in forking branches. The practice of tree “topping” reduces these spaces and shocks the tree, challenging its overall health. In contrast, structural pruning in line with the tree’s natural form protects tree health, leaves the forked branches beloved by love birds, and beautifully guides tree growth.
Irrigate and Deep Water
Every parent wants their home to have “good bones.” For birds, that means strong healthy trees to host their nests. LA trees, often unsupported by irrigation or simply “sprinkled,” have been truly challenged by drought. When maintaining our gardens with smart irrigation, we ensure tree hydrozones support their needs. When maintaining gardens we did not create, we deep water by hand or with spikes in the summer months and in advance of hot days.
Trees talk to us constantly – and we listen. Trees will squeak when they have health and structural problems. We take note and schedule smartly-timed trimming for their health and safety. Of course, when this time of year approaches, we are listening for tweets!
One of our most important sustainable maintenance tools is patience, and we consider it an essential service for our Bird BnBs. We apply patience, not pesticides, so our garden’s nectars, seeds, bugs and worms remain unflavored by toxins. It also helps us hold off on trimming trees during LA’s nesting season from February to early fall.
Beyond their role in supporting nests, trees are incredibly valuable resources in our private gardens and communities… and when we maintain them well, they truly sing for us.