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Dear LAist: Who Can I Complain To About The Overgrown Trees In My Neighborhood?

Fallen trees litter the front yard of a house in a neighborhood near Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon on Friday, April 15, 2016. (Richard Vogel/AP)
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Back in August, we wrote a story about L.A.'s new City Forest Officer, Rachel Malarich. In it, we detailed her broad plans for the city's trees in the years to come, which include taking an inventory of existing trees, planting 90,000 new trees by 2021 and increasing the tree canopy in areas with low shade by 50% within the next ten years.

But one reader became curious about what, if anything, Malarich can or will do in regards to caring for existing trees.

"Will the plan include maintaining the trees that are in our neighborhoods?" wrote reader Emma F. Skinner. "So many trees are overgrown and hanging over electrical wires, covering street signs and blocking the view for drivers. I've requested maintenance but no response."

We reached out to Malarich, and she let us know via email that while she will be working with various City departments to coordinate "an integrated approach of L.A.'s urban forest," the operational aspects of tree maintenance will fall to the departments to which they're already assigned.

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"The Urban Forestry Division within StreetsLA is responsible for the City's 750,000 street trees," she said, "and Recreation and Parks is responsible for the approximately 150,000 street trees located in our recreational areas."

When it comes to trees that are blocking or growing around power lines, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is responsible for clearance.

Malarich added that the Urban Forestry Division has expanded their staff over the past year to conduct "tree trimming, dead tree removal, tree planting, watering and root pruning."

No new details about Malarich's plan for the city are available since the city announced her appointment, but she told LAist that she's "meeting with various city staff and offices and gathering information," and that the next few years will find her reviewing L.A.'s policies and practices in addition to developing the Urban Forestry Management Plan.

To access tree services, visit the Urban Forestry Division's website. For information about who to contact if a tree in your neighborhood is interfering with a power line, visit the DWP's website.


2:01 p.m.: This article was updated with information about the DWP's role in tree maintenance.

This article was originally published on Sept. 13 at 3:20 p.m.

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