Palos Verdes Tree Trimmer

Power was knocked out in Palos Verdes near Abalone Cove when a tree trimmer, working on trimming a pine tree at a height of 25 feet, accidentally touched his pruning shear to an overhead electrical cable. The tree trimmer was killed in the electrocution accident.

The tree trimmer worked for Ben’s Gardening Service and he was later identified as Enrique Torres of Cudahy. The state Division of Occupational Health and Safety was called to investigate the accident and will have six months to complete its review. Peter Melton, spokesman for the agency, said that the initial investigation showed Torres had hung his tool on the electrical wire. Torres was 31 years old.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. is a second generation Los Angeles Arborist, Orange County Arborist, San Diego Arborist, and Bay Area Arborist and Bay Area tree experts and tree specialists with experience in landscape maintenance, landscape construction, drainage, irrigation management, tree care, tree management, tree and plant appraisals. 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.

Man Arrested After Felling Pine onto Highway

A man was hired by a private property owner to cut down a large pine tree on the property, which bordered the Kaumualii Highway in Hawaii. When the man cut the tree down, the tree fell into the highway and landed on a Dodge pickup truck travelling in the eastbound lane. The tree smashed into the roof and bed of the truck, injuring the driver, who was taken to the hospital with a possible neck injury. Another pickup travelling east hit the fallen tree and sustained front-end damage, but the driver was not injured.

The man who cut down the tree was arrested on suspicion of second-degree reckless endangering. The highway was closed for about an hour and traffic was rerouted while crews cleared the road of debris.


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.


Rubber Sidewalks in Vancouver

The Hough neighborhood in Vancouver has recently switched to rubber sidewalks to solve the problem of sidewalk uplift from their large, old trees. Sidewalk uplift causes frequent, costly repairs and can be a tripping hazard. The co-chair for the Hough Neighborhood Association, Melissa Tiefenthaler, started looking at the rubber sidewalk option after the topic of sidewalk repair kept cropping up during neighborhood discussions.

Tiefenthaler applied for and received a grant to help pay for a demonstration project on one of Hough’s streets. She said the grant was approved because one of the benefits to keeping the trees is their calming effect on drivers – who usually slow down from a perceived effect that the street is narrower than it actually is.

Another benefit to the rubber sidewalks is decreasing storm runoff. This is because the recycled material in the sidewalks allows nearly 98 inches of rainwater to seep into the ground beneath the sidewalk. This water absorption allows tree roots to grow more deeply, reducing the risk of cracking or upheaval. These sidewalks also can be easily removed to prune tree roots and switch out one block of the sidewalk, instead of replacing an entire sidewalk.

With the new sidewalk in place, the city is watching to see how it holds up over time. In the long run, the city may make the rubber a standard sidewalk material.


Town Plans Final Sidewalk Repairs Before Homeowners are Responsible

Last year the town of Robbinsville, New Jersey, adopted an ordinance that makes sidewalk maintenance the homeowner’s responsibility, but the town is fixing the sidewalks one last time that are already a problem. This is because the town is worried about the possibility of trip-and-fall lawsuits caused by sidewalk uplift. To fix the sidewalks, the town has asked the homeowners to decide if they want a smaller caliber tree to replace trees that have roots that are causing uplift, or if they want to have the roots shaved on the mature trees before sidewalk maintenance is done. If residents don’t decide, the town will decide for them. Either way, if the newly planted tree or the root-shaved mature tree dies within the year, the town will replace the tree. After that, the tree and sidewalk are the homeowner’s responsibility.

It is estimated that there are more than 3,100 yards of uneven sidewalks in 15 developments in town. With the situation being different in every development, the two areas with the worst problems will be addressed first. In many areas, yard trees were planted too close to the sidewalk by developers. In other uplift cases, the wrong type of tree was selected as a sidewalk tree and planted in the narrow strip of land between the sidewalk and the street. The hope is that as each area is worked on, lessons learned will be used to more smoothly work on new areas. “We’re looking forward to moving forward,” said Council President Ron Witt. “Any lessons learned in the first two developments will apply to the next phase, and, hopefully, after that we’ll be working like a fine oiled-machine.”


Trees Cut and Sidewalks Repaired in Napa

Napa California has been working on repairing sidewalks in a two-block area that tree roots have uplifted. At an uplifted sidewalk on Montgomery Street, a pedestrian had tripped, so city crews reviewed the sidewalks and trees in the area. What they found was that there were many instances of uplifted sidewalks due to tree roots. Speaking of the spot of the tripping incident, Parks Superintendent Dave Perazzo said, “There was significant sidewalk lift at this location due to tree roots. Access to the home’s driveway was impacted as well as drainage from their property.”

Once it was confirmed that trees were the cause of the sidewalk deterioration, the trees in the area were cut down. Crews first examined the roots and trees to see if shaving or grinding roots would be possible to save the trees. Unfortunately, some of the trees were found to be decayed or hollow, and the branch attachments would probably become public safety hazards, as the trees grew larger. It was also found that 25% of the roots would have to be removed for most of the trees in order to complete the sidewalk repair – and this would cause a problem in tree stability.

Once the sidewalks are repaired, replacement trees, which neighbors were able to have a choice in, will be planted.

Will LA Homeowners be Responsible for Sidewalks?

The Los Angeles City Council is considering shifting all responsibility of sidewalk care to property owners. Currently, the city takes care of the tree roots, which is considered the biggest problem, while the property owner takes care of the sidewalk. The proposal would also make the homeowner legally liable for any trip-and-fall claims from sidewalk damage. The City Council is also considering more inspections of sidewalks to issue citations and order repairs.

Homeowners and homeowner associations have opposed the policy change. This opposition, along with the inability of council committees to take action, has kept the proposal from passing. “We are celebrating our sixth anniversary of motions and all we are doing is asking the same questions,” said Councilman Bernard Parks, Budget and Finance Chair. “We have spent $100 million to build 500 miles of sidewalk and they are in worse shape than ever before.”

Federal funding originally was used by the city to take care of the tree root damage, but this funding has been used up. The city has been taking responsibility for the tree root damage since 1973, but now the city is strapped for cash. There are 4,700 miles of the 11,000 miles in the city that are labeled as being in poor shape. The estimate to repair damaged sidewalks is $1.2-1.5 billion. The city also pays $4-6 million in liability claims every year.

Other options being discussed by the city council include creating sidewalk assessment districts (where homeowners vote to pay the city sidewalk maintenance); and certifying sidewalks as safe when property is sold, utilities are connected, or when building permits are issued.


Neighborhood Complaint Becomes Township Issue

Kathy Goodwine, a resident in Robbinsville, complained over a year ago to council members about trees in her area that were lifting sidewalks. The issue soon became a township wide issue, because trees in other areas of the town were also causing sidewalk lift.

To address the problem, the council looked at sidewalks in various areas and then sent out surveys to residents who live in areas with hazardous sidewalks. The survey had four options available to recommend: sidewalk grinding, root shaving, sidewalk realignment, and tree replacement. Sidewalk grinding would only be an option when the sidewalk uplift was less than 2 inches. The tree replacement option would entail choosing trees that would be better suited to grow in confined spaces. Each of these options had pros and cons. So far, residents have sent in 56 completed surveys.

The tree/sidewalk issue has been found to be very divisive and not easily solved. Trees provide shade, nesting habitat, and are aesthetically appealing. Sidewalks provide safety and increase the value of the adjacent home. Together, sidewalks and trees can become a hazard.

Whichever decision the township finally makes in addressing the sidewalk repair problem, the homeowner or homeowner’s association will be responsible for future repairs.


City and Business Work Together on Sidewalk Repair

The city of Powell, Wyoming has been working with business owners in the city to come up with a plan to fix the sidewalk damage problem downtown. The last time the city worked with the businesses on the trees and sidewalks was in 1993, when the businesses voted on a $1.5 million beautification project. At the time, the businesses also agreed to maintain the sidewalks in front of their properties.

This time, Councilman John Wetzel suggests that the city cover 75 percent of the sidewalk repair, while businesses pay 25percent. One issue still not resolved is that the city does not allow a business to decide when a tree should be taken down, even though the trees are the cause of the sidewalk damage.

When the repairs are being done, tree roots will be trimmed, some trees will be replaces, and concrete and tree grates will be repaired. The city will also be looking at root retaining systems that make roots grow down instead of out. An arborist and the city’s tree board will be consulted to decide what the right solution will be. The city is working with the business owners to determine which areas need to be repaired.

Councilmembers reiterated the importance of keeping the downtown beautiful and pedestrian friendly. “We do have a beautiful downtown,” said Councilman Floyd Young. City Administrator Zane Logan added, “And we want to keep it that way.”