Saturday, August 18, 2007

Leucadia's Disappearing Tree Canopy

The two large eucalyptus trees on the right of this photo are going to be cut down and removed.

The tree on the right of this photo is the third tree scheduled for removal.

One of the coolest things about the coastal corridor of Leucadia is the giant tree canopy. Unfortunately most of the giant eucalyptus trees are now 80+ years old and are dying. The city is slowly but surely removing the large trees but there is no plan to restore the canopy.

Three giant eucs are going to be removed this month (near the Leucadia Post Office).

Leucadia needs a clear, concise plan to manage the coast highway tree canopy with maintenance, irrigation, trimming, restoration and the replanting of new trees.

Many of the newer trees planted in the last 5 years are dying due to lack of proper irrigation.

Many trees have been hacked by private parties trying to clear views of billboards and signs. When trees are improperly trimmed they can become a hazard or die.

Eucalyptus trees are beautiful but have problems, visit this interesting link about eucalyptus in California. What kind of trees should we replace the eucs with?

What native California trees would be best to have on the coast highway?

The tree canopy makes Leucadia unique from all the other so-cal beach towns. What are your ideas on how to preserve our town's identity?

My cheesy quick photoshop of what the coast highway will look like without the trees. One of these trees is leaning towards the old Neighbor Saver building and poses a danger, but it's still sad to see it go.

The city has formed a committee to regulate the spread of invasive plant species.

NCT story: Houlihan named to Encinitas invasive plants committee

I believe that Leucadia's disappearing tree canopy is a bigger issue than the invasive weeds. Hopefully the city will be motivated to do something and preserve our local heritage and ambiance.

Leucadia Blog: Invasive Plants aka "weeds" may be regulated in Encinitas


  1. JP, I agree that losing the tree canopy in Leucadia is worse than the threat of invasive plants.

    What is the average lifespan of Eucalyptus trees? This would be an interesting question. If one must be cut down, I would like to have the report of a botonist, not just an "arborist," which can be someone who is basically a tree trimmer without a degree in the subject.

    Traditionally, Eucalytus trees have been planted near railroads. If they are truly dying, we should definitely replace them with more trees, and include plans to water the replacement growth, as JP suggests.

  2. The eucalyptus tree canopy is what made this stretch of 101 unique and a pleasure to drive. Probably the best native species for replacement is the Torrey pine. It grows big and would make a nice canopy. It does need space, but I think it would fit in the median strip if the lower lateral branches were trimmed off as the tree matured. This pine is long-lived and not brittle like many eucalyptus species. However it is slow growing. You can see what they look like at the corner of Santa Fe and Summit in Cardiff, at the San Dieguito Academy, and adjacent to Orpheus and Leucadia Blvd. You can see it growing naturally at Torrey Pines State Park along 101 at the south end of Del Mar.

    A non-native alternative would be the Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla). This tree is more vertical and doesn't form a canopy, but still could be used, especially if interspaced with Torrey pines. You can see a big one adjacent to the Moonlight Beach parking lot. It's decorated at Christmas time. Another one is near the intersection of Summit, Rubenstein, and Westminster in Cardiff. There were three mature ones at the Cardiff Elementary School, but sadly they were cut down when the school was remodeled a few years ago. -Sigh-

  3. Years ago an ex-employee of the city said he would like to remove every blue-gum eucalyptus tree from Hwy 101. To him they are large weeds. The three eucs getting the ax right after the LeucadiART Walk (Sunday the 26th btw) are the LAST three eucalyptus trees on the west side of the highway in Leucadia from the Pannikin to La Costa Ave. Bob whatshisname is gone now, but seems like someone is dutifully carrying out his wishes. Ideally the canopy should be replaced. It is a major drag to lose these huge beauties, and I've always wondered why the city never trimmed these particular trees when they did do most others. And seems too coincidental they all have to go at the same time - just prior to getting our new sidewalks.

    I don't think anyone has ever died from a falling tree in Encinitas. (Compared to things like falling off bluffs, being hit by the train, car accidents, cigarettes, and long council meetings) But admittedly there have been several trees fall or drop big limbs narrowly missing people. Recently downtown, there was an old euc that fell on a car. A woman was in the car but the branches missed her. It crushed the trunk and front of her car. Another story surfaced shortly after that tree and the tree next to it were removed. One man said years ago that tree saved his life. A drunk driver slammed into it, but he was right on the other side, unharmed. He would have been creamed if not for the tree.

    One good point about eucalyptus trees is that they grow amazingly fast. One I planted took only 15 years to reach 70 feet. The downside is that they do require maintenance, and shed a ton of leaves. Few things grow in their shade. And only people who wouldn't want to live here think they smell like cat pee. OK, they do a little.

    Two enormous eucs were cut down in front of the post office a few years back. The city mitagated that with the replacement of two trees. They are a different kind of tree, don't shed much, don't get as big as eucalyptus, but look similar from a galloping horse. There definately needs to be a push to restore the canopy. It's Leucadia's mojo.

    I'd like to see at least 5 trees per block planted that can get 60 feet tall. The four evergreens we planted at roadside park a few months ago are still small, but they look twice as big as they did when we planted them. Now if we can keep billboard companies from hiring the hacks who have been removing our trees at an unknown rate "so the billboards can be seen better" - Then maybe some of us will live to see the tunnel of trees again.

    On a lighter note, the city no longer uses the engineer who recommended removing all the trees on 101 for his $40 million dollar storm drain brainstorm.

  4. Excellent Fred! Just Excellent!

    Replace the canopy now. Forget the high priced sport fields and get the trees back. That’s what the public wants

  5. Without Trees, Leucadia will look as bleak as the Ponto Area...Golly gee, every fairy's don't like that.


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