Friday, December 05, 2008

Sonoma Goes After Eucalyptus Trees

Looks like Sonoma County is having some problems with eucalyptus trees that line roads, just like we're having with the trees between Eureka and Arcata. Some homeowners are fighting with the county over whose responsibility it is to cut them down.

I don't feel so paranoid now. I'd remarked elsewhere that it made me nervous driving on the 101 safety corridor when a strong wind was blowing. I worried that a tree, or maybe a branch, might fall down. Apparently, at least one person has been killed by a falling eucalyptus tree in Sonoma County, according to the article.

Goes to show: Just because you're paranoid...

I, for one, don't have any problem with removal of the eucalyptus trees alongside the 101 safety corridor. That Press- Democrat article solidifies my feelings.


At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Eucalyptus trees are non- native, grow really fast and shed branches like crazy making for potential hazards in the road, especially during high wind events. I have not the slightest problem cutting them down.

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are signs "save the trees" with a phone number nailed to the eucalyptus trees on Highway 116 if you take it from Petaluma on the way to Highway 37. There are also metal signs that announce "falling trees" when nearing the eucalyptus trees on 116.

I have been on 101 here during winds and have seen a car hit by a branch and had one barely miss my car. They do break branches and are brittle. I didn't see any trees fall down but have heard that some have split but did not fall on the highway. If CalTrans has to widen the lane either for a turn lane or even a larger bike lane, some of the trees will probably have to come down.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cut em down, donate the firewood to the elderly.

At 11:34 PM, Blogger kaivalya said...

I thought there was some windbreak purpose for planting them there on the 101. Anyone know?

As for branches breaking and whatnot - it's just another normal hazard of the road. I've seen near accidents in the corridor because of birds in the road, bark falling off of trucks, merging trucks, rain, etc.. I suggest keeping the hazardous-nature in perspective.

In the end, I have no problem with cutting them down.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ignorance at work here again.

Eucalyptus trees rarely break in the wind. They are dangerous in parks because large ones can drop branches without warning on calm days, but the ones on 101 and near Petaluma are back from the actual shoulder and pose little or no hazard to cars or even cyclists.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Well, maybe your the expert, but at least one arborist is quoted in the article as seeing a problem with at least some of the trees.

John Meserve, an arborist with Horticultural Associates in Glen Ellen, said in his report to the county that pruning the trees could alleviate the hazards they pose "somewhat."

But Meserve's preference is for the most hazardous trees to be taken down. Of the 370 trees surveyed, Meserve identified 252 as having a high potential for structural failure. Sixty-three have moderate potential, he wrote, while only 11 were deemed low risk.

They also mention that a branch fell from a tree on this highway a few years ago, injuring the driveway.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Ooops! That was supposed to be, "maybe you'RE the expert...".

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 11:25 a.m. --

Maybe the branches I saw flying off of the trees in the wind were just "dropping their branches" and it had nothing to do with the wind. The bike area was littered with debris that day when the branches were flying over and onto the highway. We used to have a eucalyptus tree in our backyard in San Diego and it was a little dangerous in the wind as branches did fly off.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

"Hysteria takes charge in Humboldt County."

So much hostility directed at eucalyptus trees with the incredibly myopic rationale of "breaking limbs". What is this? Xenophobic hysteria directed at foreign trees? Have none of you ever traveled our Avenue of the Giants during storms? Should we cut down all those redwood giants as potential car or people damaging limbs producers that come down during storms some landing on cars? I had a redwood limb come right through the roof of my cabin in one storm. Could have killed me inside my own cabin and such events are not unknown in Redwood Country.

I happen to love eucalyptus trees as they are my trees of childhood memories in Santa Barbara County. Climbing them was a major sport with us and we had one great big old one on our property that we made a tree-house in. It came crashing down one stormy night as my dad had inadvertently killed it when he had pushed too much dirt up around its base taking dirt near it for adobe brick making. Some trees are real sensitive to that and the whole inside of the big eucalyptus was rotted through even though it looked fine on the outside because the living layer of bark was still intact. We had been up in the treehouse during the treehouse the day before it blew down but I wouldn't trade memories of that special tree to us kids for any thought of danger. Life is dangerous and you cannot protect yourself from everything. Let the eucalyptus trees live and do their work as a wind break for cars and screw highway expansion that takes their long established lives, beauty and utility.


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