Torrey Pines on 4600 Block of Saratoga in Ocean Beach Are Dead

by on June 19, 2020 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

Locals, neighbors and Ocean Beach tree-lovers had feared it for months. Now, it’s official. The Torrey Pines on the 4600 block of Saratoga are dead.

A press statement from Jen Campbell’s office made the announcement. And we post it below. A couple of things. It was on behest of the city that Torrey Pines on that block were chopped down back in 2016. (See the “Sordid Saga of the Saratoga Torrey Pines.”) And in fact, there’s been so many efforts by the city to remove the Torreys in OB, that a group formed to “save Peninsula trees.”

UPDATE: The address is the statement was 4652 Saratoga – but the actual address is 4605 Saratoga. 4652 was the exact same address of the Torrey Pine that the city had taken down in 2016. (The photo above is from google maps and I’m not certain when it was taken.) – The address thing has been cleared up; it was a “typo” and the actual address is 4605 Saratoga.)

Be that as it may, the City has once again relied on City of San Diego Forester Brian Widener and his team to make the assessment. Here’s the statement from Campbell’s office:

After a thorough investigation by the City of San Diego Forester Brian Widener and his team, it has been sadly concluded that the torrey pines at 4652 Saratoga Avenue are dead.

“This is an extremely sad day for the Ocean Beach community,” Councilmember Jennifer Campbell said. “The history of those trees, which were planted by residents during the Great Depression to add more cover and vibrancy to an arid landscape, is part of the history of this community. To the generations of Ocean Beach residents who have enjoyed their shade and beauty over the years, you have my deepest condolences.”

The cause of death for the two trees is unknown and currently being investigated. With the spread of invasive beetle species that are decimating tree populations in San Diego from palm trees to torrey pines, removing these two trees as quickly as possible is vital to maintaining the overall health of Ocean Beach’s urban canopy.

“These two large trees provided a great deal of ecosystem benefits that will not be easily replaced, but more importantly the large historical trees represented civic pride for the OB community,” Widener said. “The San Diego Urban Forestry Program continues to plant new street trees at the community’s request.”

Ocean Beach Town Council President Mark Winkie said that it was a sad day for the community.

Former Torrey Pine at 4654 Saratoga.

“The Ocean Beach Town Council is saddened to learn that two of the majestic torrey pine trees on Saratoga Ave. have died and will have to be removed,” Winkie said. “Ocean Beach has a long legacy of protecting our natural environment and these trees have been with us a long time. Unfortunately there is nothing more to do and because of public safety they need to be removed. They will however, be replaced by new trees, that in time will grace Saratoga Ave. with a new canopy and a new story.”

While nothing can replace the memories and history of these two trees, the City of San Diego is working to save some of the Torrey pine wood to provide to local artists at a later date.

“Expanding San Diego’s urban canopy is a key goal to fight climate change, lower pollution and increase our quality of life,” Campbell said. “I hope the newly planted trees will create memories for the next generation of OB residents.”

City contractors are scheduled to remove the two trees by June 26th.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

thequeenisalizard June 20, 2020 at 8:39 am

Looking at the one on Long Branch it may be next. It’s not only still tilting and breaking up the street, but it also has stopped dripping its killer sap and has the beetles in the bark. We lost a 50 foot, Sugar Pine, to the beetles a few years back. I’m thinking climate variations have led to an increase of the beetles throughout the state. Insects are known survivers of these changes throughout the history of the planet.


Geoff Page June 22, 2020 at 9:44 am

The Long Branch tree has been in that tilt position for years, it is not an indication of health. The street damage is from roots. More worrisome may be the other things you mentioned, the sap and the beetles.


retired botanist June 21, 2020 at 4:14 pm

I guess to say that I am heartbroken and incensed, well, who cares? Both of these trees were on the Heritage tree list. Obviously meaningless, after two years of committed community labor, documenting, protecting and identifying the extreme significance of these trees. Writing a handbook for the City in stewardship. Getting a slot on a PBS documentary about these trees. So just what did that Heritage label get them? Apparently nothing. No extra care. No attempt to further preserve or conserve them. Just a bloody target on their trunks. Beetles, concrete, who cares? They’re coming down.
To say it would be helpful to know exactly what it is that these trees died of? Nobody gives a s$%^, certainly not the City who is likely jubilant that they can take down two more endangered Torrey pines, so they won’t threaten children on scooters, or homeowner’s foundations, or sap on parked cars. And, wait for it: They’ll replace them with an exotic mimosa tree, or a jacaranda. Whoohu, Jen Campbell, OB is bound to get future memories out of that, right?
Ya know? When you bother to designate something as a living treasure, as an endangered species, that means you take SPECIAL CARE to preserve and maintain it. So, City and Widener, where was that effort? Anything in the administrative record, other than “DEAD: slated to be removed” indicate any attention?
Super disappointed. So much so, I just can’t write further. And btw, where are the 3:1 ratio Torrey pines promised years ago when Esperante was removed? Why should people invest their free time in municipal efforts, when all they get is Jen Campbell’s “thoughts and prayers”…
So disgusted with the City right now :(


Devon June 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm

Why exactly arnt we planting trees everyday? I only think of this and night. And forget all over again.


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