A visitor to the blog wrote to ask what’s going on with two Monterey pines at Franklin Park, surrounded by yellow tape. The other day I made sure I did not forget my camera at home, and went to take some pictures and a better look at the trees. Both are huge trees in the western portion of the park. For identification purposes I’m calling them the San Antonio pine and the Morton pine, after the streets they are closer to.
So the Morton pine is this one, and this is the notice on it.
The arborist report is right here.
The San Antonio pine is this one, and this is the notice.
The report on that one is here.
Looking from the outside with a lay eye, I have to admit that the Morton tree looks pretty close to dead. There is for sure some green growth on it still, but mostly it’s dry and brown. I regretfully agree that it has outlived its useful life, as the report says. If somebody thinks otherwise, I’m listening, but I just think it’s done. The only reason the park people may not want to remove it is to save themselves the cost for a few more years, and use the money to plant more trees right now.
The San Antonio tree is a different matter. The tree looks pretty healthy still, with the exception of a nasty cavity you can see up close right here.
While I understand the concern about the tree and just snapping in half at the cavity spot in the next big gust of wind, I also know that arborists generally err on the side of caution for obvious liability reasons, and in this case that just might mean that the tree could be okay, especially if treated for the carpenter worms that might still be in it. Yes, I saw the drawing of what the cavity may look like on the inside but I’m also wondering how someone determines that without an x-ray or some such technology. By feeling around? 36 inches deep? Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I would explore options for saving the tree (filling the cavity? bracing?) and give it a year or two to see how it does before going for the axe.
In a nutshell, I think a second opinion on that San Antonio pine is warranted. I’m going to ask John McDonald about that, and I’m hoping others will ask as well. I definitely do not want to endanger anyone playing or resting in the vicinity of this tree if it is indeed dangerous, but I don’t want expensive removals done on a single report either, especially since there is so little money to go around, and so much planting and other tree maintenance to be done.
John McDonald’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The arborist who provided the reports is Steve Batchelder, at (510) 787-3075, email@example.com.