After a potent storm knocked down a huge galeana (African tulip) tree on Ajijic’s Calle Independencia last month, neighbor Tom Thompson became concerned that a gangly jacaranda growing across the street might meet the same fate.
He launched a Facebook campaign to drum up funding to get the tree pruned to a suitable size.
As peso pledges poured in, he recruited experienced tree trimmer Joel González to do the work. More importantly, he obtained authorization from Chapala’s Ecology Department to get the job done.
Now reduced to about half its height, the jacaranda is expected to thrive as it sprouts new foliage in the coming months.
Mature trees with uncontrolled growth are particularly vulnerable to destruction as the rainy season kicks in. Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent their loss and further damage that may occur. Property owners and tenants are responsible for caring for trees on their lands, as well as adhering to pruning and felling regulations established by the local government. Ecología official Tania Tavares explained the guidelines to the Guadalajara Reporter this week.
As opposed to routine maintenance and ornamental trimming, a permit is required for radical pruning and size reduction, or complete tree removal. The first step is to file a solicitud (request) for a review of the individual case, which may be accompanied by photographs of the tree in question. The solicitud may be registered either by the property occupant or an individual hired to carry out the work, upon presentation of ID and proof of address.
The office will then dispatch inspectors for an on-site evaluation to determine whether there is a legitimate reason to issue a permit. According to Tavares, the standard fee for a pruning permit currently runs at 310 pesos. For a tala (felling), the minimum cost is 420 pesos, varying upwards depending upon the tree’s size and species. The fee may be waived if the tree is diseased or dead.
The agency’s underlying principle is to save trees whenever possible. In cases of full removal the responsible party is also obligated to replace the tree with three new trees to be planted at the same location or different approved spots.
Tavares warns that detection of extreme pruning and removal carried out without a permit may lead to imposition of fines up to 7,910 pesos per tree.