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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 8:38 am | Fair 43º


Pearl Chase Society Donates Watering Devices for Anapamu Street Pine Trees

The historic trees are suffering from drought conditions and pests, so the society hopes to help out with an efficient watering method

"What would Pearl do?" is a question Steve Dowty and his fellow board members ask themselves often.

Dowty is vice president of the Pearl Chase Society, named for the Santa Barbara community activist and prominent crusader for historic preservation and conservation. 

Dowty believes Chase would care greatly about the Italian stone pines that line Anapamu Street, which create a graceful canopy for pedestrians and street traffic moving through the neighborhood. 

The pines, which are particularly vulnerable to drought, were planted as seedlings as early as 1908 by Dr. Augustus Boyd Doremus, and 80 majestic pines line the street today.

A handful of those pines were removed earlier this year after dying due to pests and drought stresses, and the society stepped up to do something to protect the remaining trees.

The group donated $14,560 in October to the city's Parks & Recreation Department for the purchase of 56 devices that will help consistently water the pines. 

On Tuesday, the group's donation will go to the Santa Barbara City Council for approval.

The watering devices are called irricades and are similar to the temporary barriers used to line highways during construction.  

The devices are filled with 125 gallons of water which is released through a soaker hose and into the ground surrounding the pines. Many of the light green devices, about 4 feet in length, already line the street.

They'll stay in place until the drought declaration is lifted and will be maintained by city forestry staff.

As for the pines themselves, "they're very rare," Dowty said, adding he believes Santa Barbara's group of Italian stone pine trees lining Anapamu Street to be one of the largest in the United States.

Standing in the cool air under the canopy of the pines Monday, Dowty said that the board made the decision to help purchase the irricades several months ago, but has been actively monitoring the pines for some time and has been in communication with the city about how to best care for the trees.

The trees can have a lifespan of up to 150 years, and Dowty said Chase would have been interested in preserving the towering conifers enjoyed by those who make their way through the area.

"She was instrumental in contributing to open space, and this is open space in a way," he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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