Local News

Adlena Park shade trees set for removal

Neighbors of Adlena Park were concerned when Fullerton city arborist Roger Cardenas recently marked five of the park’s Chinese Elms for removal.

Five Chinese elm trees at Adlena Park are set for removal.

“The City plans on removing these trees which are basically air conditioning units. Their removal opens the park to hot spots and destroys the whole ecosystem. I moved here because of this park and these trees. They provide shade so the kids can use the playground,” Fullerton resident and frequent park user Courtney Bree said. The mostly metal playground equipment is surrounded by cement and thick rubber padding. When the shade is gone the equipment becomes unbearably hot and unusable.

The City has notified the neighborhood of a community meeting on August 26 from 5pm to 6:30pm at the park where the necessity for removal will be explained.

Adlena Park trees get second opinion

In the meantime, the Fullerton Observer sought a second opinion from independent International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)-certified arborist Mike Ventura and arborist Steve Brow. The Observer asked the arborists whether removal was necessary and if there were any options that could save the trees.

Ventura examined the trees going from left to right from the playground to the wall separating the park from the neighborhood. He said, “This is really bad.” He pointed to a cavity that showed holes at the base of the trunk. “There is termite damage inside. I would determine that there is tissue back there that is not supporting the tree.”

Arborist Brow knocked on one of the trees and heard a hollow sound. He then put his arm up to his shoulder into the cavity. “I would not want my children to play near these trees,” he said. At the middle tree Ventura said, “There is no heaving or mushroom growth, but you have these open cavities that can create a harborage area. That means rodents will live in there, which can also cause damage.”

“The trunk can be hollow, but the roots can be tricky because you have the wind. You will see it rocking then one root goes and then that increases the stress on the others. In this case you really need a reason why they should stay. That would be everybody signing off on liability,” Brow added.

At the tree on the right Ventura said, “It is a nice Chinese Elm with good branch structure. There is a natural lean. That is nothing to worry about. Without a plant and soil sample it is hard to determine the viability of a tree’s roots. I would suggest the City send soil and root tissue to the plant and soil lab in Anaheim to determine what the specific problem is. We [arborists] cannot take trees out without a good reason. I would ask for specifics. Trees can look beautiful and still have internal decay going on. There are a variety of reasons why trees look good and still fail.”

Near the basketball court, Ventura pointed to a basketball-sized clump about six feet up one of the trees, “You actually have Korean grass growing out of the tree.” He said that indicates there is moisture inside that area. “When you get that much moisture inside, it eventually starts breaking down the tree. That is a maintenance issue,” he said.

At the tree closest to Adlena Street, Ventura said while he saw no issues with the tree closest to Adlena Street, “I would get a plant and soil assessment to determine if there is anything detrimental happening to the roots.”

Both arborists examined the trees at the park and agreed with City arborist Cardenas’ assessment that the trees pose a hazard to both park goers and nearby homes.

City Arborist Cardenas said, “There is very serious potential for these trees to fall especially with the Santa Ana winds. The technical part of my job is managing the risk of trees to the safety of people and property.” He explained that the damage to the base means the foundation has been compromised and there is no way to save the tree.

The Observer asked what happens to the wood from removed trees in the City. Cardenas said, “Fullerton doesn’t have funding for a lot where the wood can be stored. West Coast Arborist (WCA) the company that is contracted with the City to do all the tree trimming, does repurpose the wood. None of the tree matter gets thrown out. Mulch that the City uses is from non-diseased tree trimmings produced by WCA.” There is an option for residents to pick up wood for free after a job is completed.  Otherwise, wood from removed trees is taken to a WCA storage yard that then sells it to the public.

Shade Replacement Ideas

To understand the options and process of getting a shade structure for the park, the Observer contacted the Fullerton Parks and Recreation Department. According to supervisor John Clements, the process starts with a request by residents. The request is then reviewed by the staff and a determination as to cost is assessed.

Factors such as labor, footing size, equipment, wind load, structure size, and material are all calculated to determine the scope of the project. The City’s funds, resources, and other projects in the works are also taken into consideration. Parks and Recreation Department can be reached at (714) 738-6575 or go to Fullerton Community Center at 340 West Commonwealth Avenue.

In the past, some residents have been able to raise money, awareness, and with the support of nonprofits like KABOOM! and Habitat for Humanity, get their neighborhood parks renovated.

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2 replies »

  1. Do people not remember the tree that fell on a wedding party in Whittier in 2016? Killed one person and cost the city $28 million in a lawsuit. Just remove the trees now and buy some already grown trees to replace them.

  2. Sounds like we have a good city tree supervisor for Fullerton. I like that the Observer went the extra mile to make sure the new tree supervisor’s opinion was accurate. Very helpful.

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