Friday morning, August23, I saw a tree removal/trimming company show up in the alley behind my house. My first thought was great! The Torrey Pine in the backyard of the house behind me is finally going to be trimmed. I had spoken with my next-door neighbor a month ago, and he said we should trim to get the branches off the wires.
Short information on the tree and neighborhood:
My parents bought the house I live in within a year after it was built in 1948. All of the houses in Point Loma Heights were built after the war, this area from ~1948-1950’s. The tree is estimated to be 80-100 years old, 40 feet tall. The tree location is the 4300 block of Orchard Avenue, a house down from Santa Barbara. More on the species later.
Walking out back to provide access to my yard for tree droppings, I was appalled to find out the tree was being removed! I have taken a picture of it from my back yard for you to see how beautiful it is.
After two days of talking to the owners, the tree removal company, and several arborists, hearing that the San Diego City arborist had stopped by, along with the SDG&E for the wires, we asked that we have yet another discussion of possibly saving the tree, mitigating some of the concerns a neighbor has for tree root damage, etc.
While we agree the tree is on private property, and not protected by the city as it’s in the back yard (the front yard would have prevented removal – go figure), it has been part of my “back yard” and my neighbors “back yard” for decades. We have swept all the pine needles from our yards and the public alley for decades, free of charge, as this tree is part of us. It even provides homes for birds and increases property assessments.
Unfortunately today we hit the alley cement. Along with my next-door neighbor, we attempted to have a discussion with the owners of the tree along with their neighbor who had concerns about root damage. One day last week there was an agreement to trim, but today all we got in return was screaming and a “leave! as it’s our right to remove.”
We will be taking some pictures of this fine old perfect specimen of a Torrey Pine. One arborist said because it had not been trimmed in forever, that it was one of the best specimens he has seen. There was no fear of it falling, it is a very healthy tree.
We will mourn its loss. My neighbor next door, whose family is also a long-term resident of Point Loma, will miss it, pine needles, sap, and all.
If anyone has actions to take, perhaps learning the route Del Mar has taken, to try to prevent removal of these beautiful, endangered trees in the future. I offer a few items of information on Torrey Pines (some from the web, and some from the successful fight to save the Long Branch Torrey Pine a couple of years ago in Ocean Beach).
- Pinus torreyana was one of the rarest pine species in the world in the early 20th century, with only around 100 trees surviving. However, with conservation the wild population has grown to about 2000 trees in present times (in the world).
- The California Native Plant Society considers it a rare species and does make it a species of concern.
- According to Wikipedia: The Torrey Pine, Pinus torreyana, is the rarest pine species in the United States, an endangered species growing only in San Diego County and on one of the Channel Islands, endemic to the coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion in the U.S. state of California.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, Red list of Threatened Species, Version 2013.1 ,www.iucnredlist.org, states
o Pinus torreyana (Torrey Pine)
o Status: Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v) ver 2013.1
o Population trend: decreasing