Tree replanting plan for golf course trails out for public input

A sample of trees in the trail beautification plan.
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe Association has unveiled its golf course trail beautification plan, a design to replant trees that were lost during the course renovation.

Now open for public input, the plan includes 114 skyline, canopy and accent trees as well as 84 small trees and shrubs. With the addition of trees like coast live oaks, African sumac, pink trumpet trees, crepe myrtles, California sycamores and Marina strawberry trees, the hope is to bring shade and improved aesthetics to the community trails that wind around the golf course.

The skyline trees, like lemon-scented gum eucalyptus, are meant to reach 40 to 60 feet tall around the course while canopy trees aim to grow 20 to 40 feet, with leafy branches replacing barren spots.

The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club’s master plan for the course renovation called for the removal of six trees (and the replanting of 16), however, community members and members of the Association’s Forest Health Preservation Committee have estimated that as many as 60 were removed during the remodel. The golf club has stated that the trees removed were dead, dying or posed a safety risk to both golfers and trail users. This has been challenged by the Forest Health Preservation Committee as well as residents who live along the course.

In response to the community’s concerns back in 2021 the Association approved the formation of a tree replacement group to craft the new planting plan but the work stalled for a variety of factors. In January 2023, the board approved hiring former assistant manager Arnold Keene as a landscape consultant to develop a replanting plan focused primarily on the trails around the course. Members were able to get a look at the plan prior to the May 11 annual meeting.

The Association hopes to get member feedback on the planting plan before it will be approved and implemented with plantings beginning this year through June 2024.

A portion of the tree planting plan, with circles denoting new trees or shrubs.
(Karen Billing)