Does TreePeople plant only native trees?
In the mountains, on a city street, in parks or at a school campus, TreePeople plants the tree that will do the most good and have the best chance of survival. If the tree can be native, that's our first choice.
In the city, TreePeople plants "the right tree in the right place." Sometimes, the right tree is a native tree. Sometimes it is not. For better or worse (but mostly worse), urban areas such as Los Angeles have undergone changes to the surrounding landscape, soil and air that have made for a very different set of conditions than existed a century or two ago. The changes have been so thorough that many of the trees we consider native to our area have difficulty surviving in these new surroundings. In small parkways, under utility wires, in small wells cut into concrete sidewalks, in sidewalks with compacted soil or in heavily irrigated lawns, the right choice is often a tree from some place other than Southern California.
Additionally, TreePeople's work on public property is performed in conjunction with the local agency in charge, such as the school district or the city's public works department. Each agency has its own set of planting specifications and preferred species to which community tree-planting groups must adhere.
Outside urban areas, TreePeople works in partnership with local land management agencies such as the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Mountains Restoration Trust and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to restore native areas. Current projects involve conifer restoration in the upper elevations of the San Bernardino and Angeles National Forests, and oak woodland and riparian (streamside) restoration in the Santa Monica Mountains. Often, along with trees, we plant native vegetation to help establish appropriate soil conditions and to draw targeted native animal species to the wooded areas.