The dust bowl that is the Silver Lake Dog Park has grown a bit greener in recent months thanks to the planting of 10 trees donated by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. The trees were planted to provide shade for dogs and their owners and to eventually help create a buffer for neighbors who live nearby, said neighborhood council member Renee Nahum. But before the trees were purchased and planted, Nahum, working with Jen Byrne of the Silver Lake Dog Park Association, had to investigate what type of trees could survive all the peeing, pooping and sniffing that goes on in a dog park. “We did a lot of research on the kinds of trees that will withstand that kind of abuse,” Nahum said. “Hopefully they will be strong enough.”
The search for the perfect dog park tree also avoided varieties that could also prove toxic to dogs or drop seed pods that could get stuck in fur or trigger vomiting if eaten. That ruled out a local favorite, the sycamore, which drops those pointy seed balls. So, after much research and consultation with Recreation and Parks, the landscaping group decided on camphor and fern pines, which were planted last fall. The 24-inch box trees, which cost $95 each, are surrounded by orange plastic netting that Nahum hopes will eventually be replaced by logs or something more attractive.
So far the trees have held up and Nahum and Byrne, who are co-chairs of the neighborhood council committee on animal issues, are looking to raise funds to eventually buy 30 more trees for the park. “The trees will help with shade for the dogs and the owners but also help the neighborhood.”