Pruning Project Generates Controversy

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Topanga residents are expressing dismay over tree pruning activities on Topanga Canyon Blvd. that have denuded parts of the usually tree-shaded route, leaving some oaks looking more like hedges. Concerns raised include the apparent absence of an on-site arborist, and the decision to move ahead with the work during peak bird nesting season, in addition to a tree maintenance approach that has been described as “severe pruning,” and also “scorched earth.”

TASC, the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community, usually works closely with Caltrans to ensure that the community is aware of upcoming projects and the scope of the proposed work. TASC Chair Roger Pugliese indicated to the Messenger Mountain News that the pruning project did not go through the usual channels.

“Somebody let the ball drop,” he said. Pugliese explained that TASC will be meeting with Caltrans representatives to discuss community concerns, including the apparent absence of an arborist.  

“If you are doing any tree work you have to have arborist,” he said. “Otherwise it’s a violation of the Local Coastal Plan and the North Area Plan. “We’ve spent a long time developing a relationship with Caltrans. We are going to sort this out,” he said.


Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at

1 Comment
  1. Thank you for bringing attention to this horrendous desecration of “Our Main Street.” It is terribly disappointing to work as hard as we do to communicate to Caltrans how they need to work in Topanga, to set up lines of communication and then have something like this take place. It’s heartbreaking! Thank you for taking the time to feature this abomination. You have given us the evidence we need to work to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

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