The Italian stone pines that provide a verdant canopy over Santa Barbara’s East Anapamu Street will be fewer in number this week after municipal crews remove four of the majestic trees that were killed recently by drought and pests.
Some of the trees are over 100 years old, and hearken back to a different era, when they were planted as seedlings by Dr. Augustus Boyd Doremus. Now, 81 majestic pines line the street.
Doremus planted the trees in 1908 and then between 1919 and 1921. He lived on the street when it was a dirt roadway without sidewalks.
Since then, the trees and their root systems have become more constrained by the infrastructure installed around them, and some of them are struggling, according to Tim Downey, urban forest superintendent for the City of Santa Barbara.
Pines are particularly vulnerable to drought, he said, and the lack of water makes the trees more susceptible to bark beetles that are here naturally, making the pines “less adept at fighting off attack.”
The trees to be removed are located at 305, 334 and 821 E. Anapamu St., and at the Anapamu side of 1200 Alta Vista Road. The city has posted notices at the site and adjacent residents have been notified.
Anapamu Street will remain open to traffic this week, although the city warned Friday that short detours will be required at times.
The city is not planting any street trees while drought conditions persist so the removed trees will be ground down to stumps for now.
Municipal employees will continue monitoring the remaining trees, irrigating them and working to eradicate the pine bark beetles, as well as keeping neighborhood residents informed.
“We’ve done some outreach and personally contacted each property owner out there to discuss their irrigation practices,” Downey said.
In a statement, Jill Zachary, assistant Parks & Recreation Department director, said that maintaining city trees is a priority.
Mayor Helene Schneider said the stone pines are of great value to to Santa Barbara’s urban forest.
“The ones to be removed will be missed tremendously,” she said. “We will endeavor to do all that we can to make sure the remaining trees thrive during the drought and for many years beyond.”
— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.