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Re: "Best Trees for the Street" in the Nov. issue, on and the email newsletter, in which scientist John Hammond of the Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, announced the findings of a four-year project to determine the best trees to use in urban spaces.

Terry Flatley, parks manager, Renton, Wash., commented:

Red maple as a good street tree selection? Your criteria must not have included things like life span, propensity towards included bark, poor resistance to decay, tendency to surface root more than other species, poor high wind resistance and overplanting/overuse.

Len Phillips, administrator of Online Seminars for Municipal Arborists ( commented:

The article gave the impression that the trees listed were the only trees that met the requirements stipulated. The trees listed are best suited for the Washington D.C. area and perhaps this should have been stated in the research report.

Online Seminars for Municipal Arborists developed a list of 135 urban trees that met the same requirement as those stipulated in the article. This list appeared in the Jan./Feb. 2007 seminar and is now available only from the seminar archives. This list was compiled from municipal arborists and nurserymen all over the northern two thirds of the U.S. Each seminar offers a detailed look at one of these excellent urban trees, many of which are actually better than the trees the article reported.

The Natchez Crape Myrtle

Barry Landry, ASLA, director, landscape architecture, Root Design Co., Austin, Texas, commented:

I enjoy your regular newsletter every issue. In the spirit of botanical correctness, the crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia) pictured is not the 'Natchez' cultivar. Natchez has white inflorescences (blooms). I would venture to guess that the variety shown is an old-fashioned 'watermelon' pink one, or one of a number of improved varieties in that dark-pink shade.

Please keep the interesting (especially the humorous) articles coming!

Thanks, happy gardening.

Re: "Lawmakers Discuss Water Usage" on, Rob Parker, Design Principal with RGA Landscape Arch Inc., Palm Desert, Calif. commented:

Congratulations! The LA area is now coming to grips with an issue that should have been dealt with long ago. Out here in the "real" desert we have had water use guidelines and a review process through CVWD (Coachella Valley Water District) for years. The next step will be to eliminate the use of turf all together, except for recreational uses and start introducing homeowners to more innovative ways of creating drought-tolerant landscapes. Commercial clients have been on board for years, while residential developers and clients continue to insist on turf either for "economic" reasons, it's cheap to install, or an outdated aesthetic that does not fit our coastal desert environment. Welcome aboard!

Jonathan Mueller, FASLA. On being name a Fellow, he told LASN: "This honor is confirmation that hard work counts, as well as helping hands."

Re: 2007 ASLA Class of Fellows in the Oct. issue, James Jensen, Power Engineers, Boise, Idaho, commented on the investiture of Jonathan Mueller, FASLA:

Jon is one of the most sincere, honest, and hardworking guys I have ever had the pleasure to know, and has been a very long time friend and associate. Congratulations to Jon ... a well-deserved honor for a real gentleman.

Re: "Bike & Walking Trails Get Short Shrift" in the Nov. issue and on, Julianne Niemann, landscape architect, USFWS, Albuquerque, N.M., commented:

Isn't it interesting that the Secretary of State is not interested in supporting reduction of carbon emissions through more walking and bike trails, especially in this day an age where you can't pick up a paper or turn on the radio and not hear something about global warming and the need to use alternative methods of transportation?

Laurie Olin, FASLA

Re: "Taking it to the Next Level: Newsmakers as Vanguards of the Profession," in the Oct. issue (interviews with Martha Schwartz, ASLA, Ken Smith, ASLA, Walter Hood, ASLA and Laurie Olin, FASLA). Stephen Lopez, Director of Design & Development, TMA, commented:

Olin's disparaging asides about suburbs underscore his lack of perception of cultural and historical reality. How can he cite Olmsted without recognizing the tremendous contribution of the Olmsted brothers (yes, there was more than one) made to suburban design in numerous developments throughout the country? Olmsted wasn't only about Central Park and cities. My practice is extensively involved with suburban, exurban and rural development. I am a whole lot less concerned with the selection of play equipment or paver types than the design of whole new neighborhoods, preservation of sensitive natural areas, set-asides for common open space, thoughtful siting for residential, commercial and other uses, and, in other words, the big picture items. It is a level at which I see few other landscape architects practicing, and it leaves me puzzled. If McHarg was such an important influence, when did the profession decide to jettison the big picture he espoused?

Re: "Skatepark Design Rides Third Wave" feature in the sept. playground issue, Rob Beitia of Oakland, Calif. commented:

There is a problem with skate parks, as they do not allow bikes in most of the parks nationwide. BMX is considered a crime and at our local park we get tickets in excess of $150 just for riding there. I think that the comment about allowing bikes was very untrue as there are only three to four states that allow BMXers to ride the parks-- Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina and a couple parks in California. I wish that we BMXers could be as accepted as the skateboarding world. But in our case no matter where we are or what we are trying to ride we get tickets and have no place to go. I just wanted to make sure the article doesn't misinform people that BMX is allowed, because in reality we are still fighting the government to allow BMX in city parks.

Re: "Natural Play Environments: Prescription for the Future" feature in the Sept. issue, Erik Wahlman, CAD drafter, Don Neptune Architect, Shingletown, Calif. commented:

I think this is one of the best articles I have read yet (and I've found many good ones!) in Landscape Online and I whole-heartedly agree with Leslie and her convictions. May many other developers and architect read her article and take it to heart as they develop our country for our future and our children.

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December 6, 2019, 12:58 pm PDT

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