Mérida, Yucatán — A study by the city’s Sustainable Development Unit confirms what we can plainly see.
For all the trees in the Plaza Grande, the blocks surrounding it are the least wooded in the Yucatecan capital.
This being the city’s oldest neighborhood, what trees remain are also old and in their last days, said Sayda Melina Rodríguez Gómez, director of the municipal agency. The City Council is poised to announce a plan to remove and replace some of the oldest arboles in public spaces here.
Sayda Rodríguez explained that young trees will be planted next to the old to maintain continuity when it’s time to remove the dying tree.
A census is determining exact spots to target once the rainy season ends.
Many foreigners living in the Historic Center have planted trees on the narrow sidewalks in front of their homes, which is historically unconventional.
The official commented that although the law does not prohibit this action, it is necessary to plant trees in harmony with the urban environment. Trees can’t block cars and pedestrians, or grow roots that interfere with infrastructure. Trees should also not conceal traffic signs or lights. She advises homeowners keep clear a five-meters space at street corners to allow visibility.
The City Council will carry out a pilot program, placing tree grates to establish spots for trees and areas for pedestrians including those in wheelchairs.
The pich, poplar and ceiba are large trees suitable for parks and patios and open spaces, but not for sidewalks, she said. Yucatán’s limestone soil challenges trees to establish roots even in rocky conditions. That rules out the ever-popular flamboyant, which comes from India and thrives in a dry climate, she said.
Other species suggested to be planted in the entity are: campanita, akits, x’canlol or tronadora, anacahuita and capulín, which grow to six meters high.
There are also balché, ciruela, grosella, kerpis, siho and uva de mar (sea grape), which grow 12 meters high.
Sidewalks in the Centro tend to be home to black calabash trees, or the Amphitecna latifolia. They grow to about nine meters high and their roots don’t upend sidewalks.