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Community Meeting Planned for June 8 to Discuss State Street Ficus Trees

City trees in the 3100 to 3500 blocks are showing signs of decline

The City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. June 8 to present its preliminary recommendations for the replacement of the ficus trees (Indian Laurel Fig) located in the 3100 to 3500 blocks of State Street.

The meeting will be held in the Adult Building at MacKenzie Park, 3111 State St.

Planted as city street trees more than 50 years ago, there are 25 ficus trees in the 3100 to 3500 blocks of State Street. Many of the trees are beginning to show signs of decline.

The decline is due in part to significant root pruning completed in 2004 to accommodate sidewalk improvements. At that time, the root pruning was completed as an alternative to removing the trees. However, root pruning can destabilize a tree and create a safety hazard over time. The long-term health and viability of these trees is also challenged because of the limited size of the tree wells, and surrounding road and sidewalk infrastructure.

In consideration of the potential loss of these trees, the city has developed preliminary recommendations for the gradual replacement of the trees. The new trees would establish a vital tree canopy, enhance the State Street corridor and increase safety. These recommendations, including the species and a preliminary schedule for removal and replanting, will be presented at the community meeting on June 8.

The city will also present its plan to remove three trees, at 3324, 3412 and 3514 State St., that are showing serious signs of decline and present safety concerns. Subsequent public meetings will be held by the Street Tree Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission

For more information, contact Tim Downey, urban forest superintendent, at 805.564.5433 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or Jill Zachary, assistant Parks & Recreation director, at 805.564.5437 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Jill Zachary is the assistant director of the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.


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