News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Forestry board urges tree removal

The Urban Forestry Board (UFB) had to make some tough decisions at their May 9 meeting regarding removal of a number of large trees located on City property.

A portion of East Cascade Avenue, east of the elementary school, will soon have a different look due to the removal of ponderosa pine trees on the north side of the street. Those trees have been over-pruned due to the Central Electric Cooperative (CEC) power lines that run right through them, creating a fire hazard if limbs fall on the lines. They continually need to be pruned to stay below the lines. Their removal is part of the City’s and CEC’s wildfire mitigation efforts.

The trees are on City right-of-way. Central Electric will remove the trees and the City will grind the stumps. They plan this as a model project to be done in phases. Two properties have already had several trees removed. There was concern that removing all the trees at once would create too great a change in a short period so the process will be spread out over time.

A mature ponderosa tree located in City right-of-way at 392 W. Main Ave. has a root system encroaching on the adjoining property, possibly causing tripping hazards and creating pressure on the building’s foundation.

City Forester Dan Galecki said that close inspection of the sidewalk panels actually showed evidence of sinking and possible material loss underneath the panels, which would not be corrected by entirely removing the ponderosa. Galecki recommended keeping the ponderosa and doing a step-by-step process to cut away the offending roots, stating there was a 70- to 80-percent chance the tree would “heal the root-cutting procedure on its own and most likely survive by producing root growth elsewhere.” He also recommended installing root barriers.

After much deliberation, the UFB elected to have the tree removed, citing concerns about trimming the roots and causing the tree to lose its anchor. The removal will be done at City expense, estimated at $900 to $1,500.

New and upcoming measures for water conservation and irrigation of the large ponderosas located in the southeast section of Creekside Campground are being taken to maintain those trees, which provide shelter and privacy from the adjacent neighborhood.

Following Galecki’s recommendation, four juniper trees and one leaning ponderosa will be removed. Juniper is targeted as an undesirable species mainly because of its reputation for consuming much of the available water resource. The lone ponderosa will be removed because of its leaning and possibly dangerous position in the park. One large juniper will be left to help contribute to stand stocking, canopy closure, and privacy from the adjacent residential area.

A large 18-inch ponderosa located near the dog-play area on the eastern portion of the campground is exhibiting orange-colored foliage and is in a severe state of decline. Because the tree represents a hazard to campers, it will be removed. That area of the park has suffered similar tree loss in the past. Close observation of remaining trees will be conducted to help notice problems, such as insect infestation or pathogens, before they are catastrophic.

A 19-inch ponderosa located on the FivePine campus, near the front of Shibui Spa but in a City right-of-way, is failing and will be removed. Other trees in that area have exhibited decline that could be due to soil compaction, parking lot wash, chemicals, or fungus.

After approving the removal of so many trees, UFB member Marcus Peck reminded his fellow members, “We have to deal with issues greater than just hugging trees.”

 

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