Hurricane Sandy Downs Historic 400-Year-Old Oak

oak-tree

oak-tree

The city of Shelton, Connecticut, recently lost a historic oak tree believed to be at least 400 years old when Hurricane Sandy blew through the area in early November. It was not only the oldest tree in the city, but the tallest, at approximately 85 feet. Winds first blew off the top branch of the tree, which fell into power lines and cut off power to the neighborhood. John Miller, who lives across the street from the tree, said he heard a loud “crack” at about 6 p.m. “It sounded like thunder,” he said. Twenty minutes later, the entire top of the tree was taken off by another gust of wind.

Residents said that they were saddened by the loss, but not surprised. One resident said that the tree was a little hollowed out, although from outward appearances there was no indication of decay. The tree had been impacted by construction, which may have damaged its roots, and in the 1970s a construction crew planned on cutting it down until they discovered its historic nature.

“It’s sad to see it come down. There should be some kind of tribute for it,” said resident Lin Mulford.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has experience in examining thousands of trees. We evaluate a tree’s signs and symptoms ranging from decay, poor branch structure, poor pruning and maintenance practices, and roots. Please call us today for a consultation.

Santa Monica Trees

Vanefsky photos 010

Vanefsky photo

Trees in the way of the Exposition Light Rail Line in Santa Monica have been chosen to be either moved to a new location or removed and replaced. Those that were chosen to be removed are being replaced with two new trees. This means that there will be an overall increase of 120 trees in the Santa Monica area – paid for by the Exposition Construction Authority. In evaluating the trees, four arborists looked at the trees for value, cost of removal, and health. If the cost of moving the tree was more than the value of the tree, that tree was chosen to be replaced instead of being moved. Also, if the type of tree was not able to maintain health once being moved, it was chosen to be removed. There were 139 trees that were evaluated, and it was decided that 120 of those trees would be removed and replaced.

Planners chose to relocate trees, like palms, throughout the city where similar trees are located. The replacement trees will be almost exclusively be planted densely along the Colorado Avenue corridor to shield residents from the Expo Line. Community forester Walt Warriner said City Council is considering low-growing canopy trees that provide shade and spread broadly, although community input was also considered in the tree selection.

Although there will be an increase in the number of trees in the area, this increase does not completely replace full-grown trees that are to be removed. Full-grown trees are better at removing more carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, produce more oxygen, and help trap more storm water runoff. Newly planted trees will take years to reach a stage where they can provide the same benefits.

 

 

Care of California’s Native Oaks

Big tree

A big tree

Young native oak trees are much more tolerant and adaptable to environmental changes, while mature, established oaks are intolerant of change. This means that any major change in a mature oak’s environment may weaken the tree or kill it. To reduce the chance of this happening, leave the tree’s RPZ, or root protection zone, undisturbed. The RPZ is defined as one and a half times the area from trunk to drip line. A healthy root system for a mature oak begins with the formation of a tap root when the tree is a seedling. This allows the tree to have assessable moisture. As the tree grows, lateral roots extend horizontally (sometimes up to 90 ft.) past the dripline. This root system also forms fine roots typically within the top three feet of the soil, and these roots absorb moisture and nutrients. To support the natural dry weather conditions in the summer, the tree also grows deep vertical roots, usually within ten feet of the trunk, which helps support the mature tree. Therefore, mature oaks need protection from excessive water, inadequate drainage, over fertilizing, filling, paving, over pruning, and trenching within the root zone.

Excessive water and inadequate drainage can smother roots and encourages crown and root rot fungi. Conditions should be dry during summer months, therefore only drought-tolerant plants that require no summer watering should be planted around mature oaks. Even then, plants should be planted no closer than six feet from the base of the tree. Groundcovers such as cobbles, gravel, and wood chips can also be used because they don’t interfere with getting the right amount of moisture and oxygen. Usually, mature oaks don’t require any irrigation, except in cases where there is an impervious surface within the RPZ. If this is the case, occasional watering may be helpful – as an extension of the normal wet season. Otherwise, oaks should be watered only outside the RPZ. Moist, warm soil at the base of the tree encourages crown and root rot. If a tree needs to be watered, water only once or twice during the summer with a slow, all-day soaking. Shallow watering promotes shallow root growth and also encourages crown and root rot. Rot and root drowning may also be caused by placing a swimming pool, which acts as a dam, downhill from a mature tree.

Mature oak trees usually need no supplemental fertilization, because they get nutrients from the leaf litter that breaks down around the tree. If fertilizing is to be done, it should be done in late winter or early spring. Trees that have undergone recent severe pruning should not be fertilized. Sometimes when leaves yellow, it is not a sign of nutrient lack, but rather a sign of crown or root rot.

Trees that have fill or paving placed with the RPZ are more likely to have problems with soil compaction, which prevents water from soaking into the soil and inhibits gases from being exchanged between roots, soil, and atmosphere. Fill can also trap moisture in the soil and cause crown and root rot. Paving also usually requires excavation to create a stable base for the paving material. Both excavation and the compaction adversely affect the root system. If any paving is needed, decking on piers is the least intrusive to the oak’s root system. It’s also best to leave the natural soil grade within the RPZ and, if necessary, use retaining walls to keep soil out of the RPZ.

Another aspect of oak care is pruning. Excessive pruning affects an oak tree in a number of ways, from exposing interior branches to sun damage, encouraging new growth that is more easily attacked by mildew, and possibly causing decline in the health of the tree. Pruning should be done during winter dormant periods and only weak, diseased, or dangerous branches should be removed. Any wounds should not be sealed, as recent research shows sealants do more harm than good. It is recommended that pruning should only be performed by a certified arborist.

Oak trees also need protection from trenching within the RPZ. Trenching can sever important tree roots when underground utilities are installed. Especially detrimental is when multiple trenches are cut through the roots. If utilities are installed within the RPZ, they should be dug by hand or they should be bored at least three feet below the surface.

Oak tree care also includes being aware of diseases and insects, which can impact the health of the tree. The tree can usually be saved if the disease is caught early. Crown rot is caused by a microscopic fungus and is promoted by saturated soils and poor soil aeration. Symptoms of crown rot are decline in tree vigor, twig die-back and wilting, lesions that ooze a dark-colored fluid, and abnormally yellow leaves. Oak root fungus, or Armillaria root rot, is almost always found in California oak trees, but doesn’t usually affect the tree unless the tree is over watered or weakened in some way. Trees affected by root rot can have branch die-back or yellowing and thinning of foliage. To avoid these symptoms, avoid summer irrigation. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that can harm oak trees, usually be causing structural weaknesses and branch breakage. Major infestations are difficult to control and it’s best to consult an arborist for advice on mistletoe or any unexplained decline in an oak tree. Insects can also harm oak trees; especially pit scales, oak moths, and other leaf eaters. These insects weaken the tree and make it susceptible to disease. Consult an arborist when insect infestation causes a change in leaf color, twig die-back, substantial leaf loss, or sticky or sooty foliage and branches.

If all of these issues are addressed in an oak tree’s care, the oak should be healthy and last a considerable amount of time.

Beverly Hills Arborist

Trees on the street

Trees on the street

The Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Commission met in 2010 to discuss, among other things, the removal of 16 ficus trees on Angelo Drive. These trees were chosen for removal due to sidewalk uplift from the roots of these trees. The commission estimates that it will cost $19,800 to replace these trees and the replacements will be either crape myrtles or fern pines.

 

Woman Injured From Tree

Ana Sofia Krogh-Doyle of Kahala, Hawaii, sued the City of Honolulu and its landscape contractor after a coconut tree fell on her while she was at Waikiki Beach. Krogh-Doyle makes the claim that the city was negligent by failing to maintain the tree. An expert estimates that the tree is 76 years old and should have been properly inspected and then removed because of its poor condition.

The tree fell on a public restroom, which caused the top 20-foot portion of the tree to snap off, roll off the restroom roof, and land on top of Krogh-Doyle. Krogh-Doyle suffered fractures to her ribs, face, and spine, and also suffered a head injury. She was a competitive surfer and her lawyer stated that, “had the 44-year-old not been in such good physical shape at the time of the incident, she would have been in a care home.” Her injuries have also prevented her from returning to work.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has examined thousands of trees. We are Los Angeles certified arborists, tree experts, and tree specialists who provide arboriculture and tree expert advice to Beverly Hills, Brentwood,  West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Malibu, Palos Verdes, Encino, Pasadena, and Sherman Oaks. We specialize in Los Angeles trees, and conducting detailed investigations and providing independent analysis. Please call us today for a consultation.

Sherman Oaks Trees

Laurel Canyon Boulevard trees in Sherman Oaks were trimmed in a project to help reduce the danger of fires in the area. Trees along this road and in a few other Hollywood Hills areas have had limbs that hang down below 14 feet, which is the clearance requirement for fire department trucks to get through to respond to a fire emergency. “This project has been talked about for years. It’s a public safety issue, and it’s getting worse in the Hollywood Hills,” said Fire Department Fire Inspector John Novela.

The state has designated 190,000 parcels as being in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, and the tree trimming project is within this zone. Previously, 130,000 parcels were within this zone, but more development has meant more parcels are now in this zone. With the increase in residences in this high fire hazard zone, there has also been a decrease in the Urban Forestry budget to trim trees. Trees were previously trimmed on a 13-year cycle. Now they are in a 33-year tree trimming cycle. The fire department is now hiring contractors to trim trees to ensure clearance for their fire trucks and to reduce the chance of fires spreading through the tree tops.

“We learned from the Oakland fire 20 years ago that out-of-control vegetation feeds a fire, especially tree canopies where fire spreads from tree to tree,” Novela said.

An experienced arborist has been helping with the project to ensure mature trees aren’t damaged by the trimming. Trees that are found hazardous due to instability are removed entirely.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has examined thousands of trees. We are Los Angeles certified arborists, tree experts, and tree specialists who provide arboriculture and tree expert advice to Beverly Hills, Brentwood,  West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Malibu, Palos Verdes, Encino, Pasadena, and Sherman Oaks. We specialize in Los Angeles trees, and conducting detailed investigations and providing independent analysis. Please call us today for a consultation.

Sherman Oaks Tree Root Damage

The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council’s Government Affairs Committee and the Neighborhood Services Committee held a joint meeting to discuss sidewalk repair in the area and what position Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC) will take when they present the issue to the City Council. Under discussion was the possibility of shifting responsibility for sidewalk repair and liability from the city to property owners. Sidewalks that are uplifted and damaged due to tree root incursion were at issue. Area residents were encouraged to attend the meeting so they could give feedback on the issues.

“This is an important issue for residents in Sherman Oaks as the area has many miles of sidewalks in need of repair and the cost to individual property owners could be in the thousands of dollars,” read a statement from SONC.

Tree roots can also be destructive by cracking and lifting a home’s foundations, driveways or walls. Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has expert witness experience with property damage and personal injury cases. We have deposition and trial experience working for plaintiff and defense cases on behalf of individuals, insurance companies, and public agencies. Please call us today for a consultation.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. are a Los Angeles certified arborist, tree experts, and tree specialists who provide arboriculture and tree expert advice to Beverly Hills, Brentwood,  West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Malibu, Palos Verdes, Encino, Pasadena, and Sherman Oaks. We specialize in conducting detailed investigations and providing independent analysis, as well as expert witness testimony in support of litigation. Please call us today for a consultation.

Sycamores Downed in Malibu

Old tree

An old tree

California State Parks, working on the Malibu Lagoon overhaul project to replace non-native vegetation with native vegetation, uprooted seven 30-year-old sycamores during bulldozing. The bulldozer was removing vegetation through a process called “grubbing” and downed the trees. Suzanne Goode, senior environmental scientist for State Parks, said the sycamores would be reused within the project. “About three of them are going to be put in the bottom of the lagoon for fish habitat and to create a little roosting area for birds. A couple of them are going to be turned into benches for the park for the amphitheater.”

Some Malibu residents actively oppose the overhaul project, protesting the impact the bulldozing has on animals, fish, and other wildlife in the lagoon.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. understands the requirements for arborist reports and protecting potentially impacted trees. Our arborists provide guidance throughout the construction process. This includes the protection of trees before construction, monitoring the trees during construction, and following up on the tree health after construction. Please call us today for a consultation.

Saving 350-Year-Old Bur Oak Tree

John Sam Williamson from Missouri has been working to save a 350-year-old bur oak, probably the largest of its kind, by hauling 1,600 gallons of water to the tree each week. Missouri has had one of its hottest summers on record, with 99.29 percent of the state in extreme drought or worse. Williamson gets his water from the Missouri River and he told the Columbia Daily Tribune that he plans on watering the tree weekly for the next month or so. He hopes his efforts will keep the drought from killing the tree.

Even with his efforts, Williamson said that the bur oak has been showing signs of stress. “The leaves are beginning to curl up a little bit, and they have turned kind of brown. I think it has aborted a lot of the acorns. And the leaves turn upside down to keep from losing moisture,” he said.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. are Los Angeles certified arborists, tree experts, and tree specialists who provide arboriculture and tree expert advice to Beverly Hills, Brentwood,  West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Malibu, Palos Verdes, Encino, Pasadena, and Sherman Oaks. We specialize in Los Angeles trees, and conducting detailed investigations and providing independent analysis. Please call us today for a consultation.

Santa Ana Winds Down Trees

Last December, Santa Ana winds in Southern California caused havoc and significant power outages. Some of the wind gusts were approximately 100 mph, while other gusts were recorded at 56-65 mph. Many homes, especially in the hard-hit Pasadena area, were without power as the winds knocked down trees – destroying buildings and downing power lines. “We probably have over 100 trees that are down and arcing wires and transformers that have blown,” said Pasadena police Lt. Jari Faulkner. Some neighborhoods were completely without power and residents were advised to limit travel and stay inside to remain safe from the storm and the debris.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has experience in examining thousands of trees. We evaluate a tree’s signs and symptoms ranging from decay, poor branch structure, poor pruning and maintenance practices, and roots. Tree risk assessment helps minimize the risk of falling trees or branches. Please call us today for a consultation.