Though part of the previously approved Flamingo Park Master Plan, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales said the contractor did not comply with the proper procedure for removing the trees, and, as a result, the community was taken by surprise. That said, the trees, though much loved, are prohibited non-native species, some of which are creating a hazard to the public according to a recent communication from Morales.
In a Letter to Commissioners earlier this month following up on the situation, Morales said after the removal of four Melaleuca trees and at the request of the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association, a certified arborist was hired to conduct a “limited tree resource evaluation” which confirmed the trees in the park are the Melaleuca quinquenervia, non-native prohibited species.
As a result of the report, the following actions are expected to be underway in July:
- Two Melaleuca trees that are being enveloped by native Ficus aurea will remain in order to protect the ficus. The ficus is expected to fully envelop the trees over the next three to five years.
- Four Melaleuca quinquenervia trees have been identified for immediate removal “due to their potentially hazardous condition and immediate threat to public safety,” according to Morales.
- One Melaleuca quinquenervia tree is in moderate condition and “The city has requested a variance from Miami-Dade County to keep this tree due to its age, size and value to the neighborhood,” Morales wrote.
- Finally, one ficus benjamina “shall be removed due to the extensive decay identified in the base and its close proximity to the baseball dugout. This area has been secured to protect the public until the tree is removed.”
Morales said canopy loss will be mitigated through the permit. “A new tree disposition and revised landscape plans illustrating new mitigation requirements have been submitted and are being reviewed by Urban Forestry Division as part of the required tree permit modification.”
Read the full Letter to Commission which includes a map of trees in question along with the Limited Tree Resource Evaluation for Flamingo Park.
City spokeswoman Melissa Berthier provided an update: “Currently, the trees to be removed under the original tree permit were tagged on June 13th. We submitted a revision based on the new Arborist report requested after the residents’ concerns. We anticipate having the permit approved this week, and the remainder of the trees will be tagged next week.”