The Indian laurel fig tree that has watched over Canon Perdido Street in Santa Barbara for more than a half-century came to a sad end Tuesday after city crews cut it down because of wind damage that bifurcated its trunk.
Crews worked all day on the tree that sits in front of Float Luxury Spa at 18 E. Canon Perdido. The street was shut down to through traffic between State and Anacapa streets while the work took place.
“It’s got a 4½-foot split down its trunk,” said Tim Downey, arborist for the City of Santa Barbara.
The city received a call early Tuesday that the tree was splitting, and the city took action to prevent it from falling on the nearby building and the busy street by securing it with a crane.
“It was a big deal,” Downey said.
The tree was planted as early as the 1950s — Downey said he wasn’t sure just when — and most likely split under the stress of Monday’s winds. Even if the crews cut all of the branches off and attempted to secure the trunk, Downey said the tree wasn’t likely to survive anyway.
Downey also gave a report on another beloved tree that literally fell victim to Monday’s windstorm.
The majestic Monterey cypress that toppled Monday at the Douglas Preserve overlooking Arroyo Burro Beach will be left in place for now, he said.
The arborist went out to assess the tree Tuesday, and said he thinks it’s far enough from the cliff’s edge not to be a safety concern.
The property’s land management plan has a provision that calls for fallen trees to be left as habitat for wildlife, so he said it is likely to stay in place.