Arborist’s Report on Long Branch Torrey Pine: It’s Healthy and Stable

by on January 3, 2011 · 6 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, Organizing

Root collar excavation of Torrey Pine on Long Branch Ave. (All photos by Frank Gormlie.)

A community-sponsored certified arborist has submitted his report on the Torrey Pine tree on the 4600 block of Long Branch Avenue, and has found the tree to be healthy and stable.

Theron Winsby was hired by local tree activists to do an evaluation of the tree at 4633 Long Branch after the City decided it wanted to chop it down.  Tree proponents and City staff clashed at the last OB Planning Board meeting over the fate of the tree, and the Board set another meeting to hear more views and reports about the Torrey Pine.  The Board gave each side 30 days to do more evaluations and have reports readied for their next meeting, set for this Wednesday, January 5th.

Winsbly did an evaluation of the tree, its foliage, trunk and roots, and he concluded that the tree is healthy and is stable. He found healthy foliage and no movement or change from earlier measurements by the large 60 foot tree from recent windy storms. He also performed what’s called a root collar excavation (RCE), and found that its trunk bark is fully intact with no evidence of damage or decay.

Winsbly also determined that the trunk flare appears in good proportion from the trunk to its buttress roots, there are no signs of decay or disease on the main lateral buttressing roots, no evidence of girdling roots, and no signs of smaller roots that grow if the tree is undergoing stress from injury.

His report ends with this observation:

If a tree has been growing at a slant for several years it is likely that the roots have compensated for the upper weight. During strong winds, if the tree shows little movement from its leaning position it would seem stable.

Here is his report, which is being sent to the Planning Board, and will be presented Wednesday the 5th at their meeting:

On Dec 31 2010 I returned to 4633 Long Branch Av. to inspect A Torrey pine – (Pinus torreyana) tree. 60 feet tall 39” DBH (diameter at breast height). Torrey pines can grow 60 to 90 feet tall and 60 feet wide in irrigated areas. Their roots can extend out 200 feet from the trunk. Torrey pines are known for clinging to sandy cliffs in coastal areas. A visual inspection of the canopy shows the tree to holding on to healthy foliage. 3 points

PROCEDURE: Visual inspection of the canopy shows the tree to holding on to healthy foliage. Measurements from the trunk to the ground from 3 different points at a 45 degree angle were compared to measurements taken in late November and showed no movement or change.

Root collar excavation (RCE) by carefully removing soil at tree base with the use of compressed air. Inspect for possible problems including disease, decay, girdling roots, and adventitious or sucker roots. Adventitious roots sprouting from the trunk of a tree usually is a sign of stress. Small Adventitious buds are often formed after the stem or trunk is wounded or buried.

FINDINGS: TRUNK: The trunk bark is fully intact with no evidence of damage or decay.

ROOTS: Excavation 2 foot out from trunk and 8 in. down. The trunk flare appears in good proportion from trunk to buttress roots. There are no signs of decay on the upper part of any main lateral buttress roots. No evidence of trunk girdling roots. Very few adventitious sucker roots are in the root collar/ buttress root area. The south side main roots extend under the old concrete. There is evidence of roots lifting a section of concrete beyond our initial excavation area. A small portion of the trunk has grown up and over and enveloped the concrete sidewalk which leads me to believe that the concrete has been slowly lifted by the expansion of roots over several years. There is evidence of Torrey pine roots in the neighboring yard 30 to 40 feet away.

DISCUSSION: With out data from years passed it is hard to determine if the tree has moved abruptly in the last 12 months. There is evidence that the concrete has been in its up heaved position for a few years. If a tree has been growing at a slant for several years it is likely that the roots have compensated for the upper weight. During strong winds, if the tree shows little movement from its leaning position it would seem stable.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

– Monitor upper canopy for new growth.

– Monthly measurements of tree lean for at least one year.

– Pruning phases during winter to reduce weight, focusing on upper canopy.

– The exposed root collar, should remain exposed, indefinitely)

NOTE: As an arborist and tree specialist, I use my education, training, and experience, to examine trees, recommend measures to enhance beauty and health of trees, and attempt to reduce the risk of being near trees. Arborists can not detect every condition that could possibly lead to structural failure of trees. Nothing is guaranteed with a living organism.

Respectfully,
Theron Winsby, ISA Certified Arborist WE 6582A

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Creeze January 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I think that this particular Torrey Pine tree should be dedicated to Richard Agee with a small bronze placard placed at it’s base because for without the efforts of this concerned and caring citizen this beautiful and endangered specie of tree would be needlessly making up a few cords of fire wood right now…. Thank You Richard !

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avatar OB Joe January 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

OBciens: please turn out at the OB Planning Board Wed nite in support of saving this tree! Meeting begins at 6pm.

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avatar Wankabankalank January 3, 2011 at 6:32 pm

The tree is leaning to the left, just like OB. Now, the best thing to do is to attach a GPS to its trunk because the City will sneak out there at midnight & cut the damn thing down. We all know that if a junkyard dog isn’t chained to it, the City will just cut it down. Whatever is good for the community is bad for the powerful. Fight hard Knights of the Torrey Pines!

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avatar Frank Gormlie January 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Creeze, OB Joe and Wankaban – thanks for your support. Indeed, Richard Agee has led this fight and definitely deserves recognition by the community!

yes, please come on out to the Ocean Beach Planning Board monthly meeting and show support for saving this historic, rare, healthy tree.

We must be vigilant – and prevent the bureaucracy from over-powering the community, its democratic forums, reason, and not allow them to chop down a healthy tree.

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avatar T winsby February 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Great job relaying the facts concernng the old tree in Ocean beach San Diego.
Great photos of the Torrey Pine tree before and after diagnosis and the pruning.
Thank you Frank!
And Thank you Richard Agee

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