Saturday, January 24, 2009
The city hired a consulting arborist to review the trees already slated for removal by West Coast Arborists. Here is his report.
Arborists are a lot like realtors. There are good ones and a lot of bad ones, and they all have a license/certification.
I had tried to speak with the West Coast arborist who gave the city their first tree evaluation. I gave up after I saw their crews on Leucadia Boulevard working on Torrey Pines trees that did not need their assistance.
Here are some questions and recommendations:
Recommendation #1: Never ask the guy you pay to cut down your trees, "Do you think this one needs to go?"
I am assuming that West Coast Arborists get paid by the tree and don't have a blanket tree maintenance contract (Leucadia's trees have been neglected, why?)
Comment #1: After that first guy says the trees have to go, you box yourself in a corner that requires a lot of effort and expense to get out.
Question #1: How was West Coast selected to be the city's tree trimmers? And how were they selected to be the consultants who evaluated the trees?
Comment #2: The large Monterey cypress is slated for removal because, "This specimen has very little canopy left". That is not evidence or reasoning to justify removing this tree.
Question #2: Why does the Monterey cypress need to be removed? Why does it have to be removed right now?
Comment 3: I am under the impression that no new trees will be put in to replace removed trees. It could be a year or more before they are replaced.
Question #3: Why the rush to remove trees all of a sudden? Trees 1, 3, and 5 are small and don't appear to pose any particular IMMEDIATE risk of canopy failure. The new arborist does not say there is any immediate danger, so why not wait to remove these (or some) trees until a replacement plan is ready to be executed?
Comment #4: The new arborist's evaluation does not appear to be independent of West Coast's evaluation. Given that, if the city was trying to save the L101 canopy, it could have required the trees be evaluated for relative risk of immediate removal, delayed removal, and sustained maintenance. The arborist also noted that he only did a visual inspection and did not identify the species of fungi infecting some of the trees.
Question #4: Given that no new trees will be planted anytime soon and L101 will look be even more uninviting with fewer trees, why weren't the larger Euc's evaluated for their short-term prognosis? Why not wait for the fungus to be identifiable and why not check the wood for the level of decay already experienced?
Question #5: No arborists are claiming that all these trees need to come down immediately. What is the rush?
Question #6: Why didn't the city want me to have the arborist's report until after a decision was made?
Question #7: Who made the "final" city decision?