Local News

Shade trees to be removed from Valencia Park without public notification

Three large Chinese elm trees in Valencia Park are scheduled to be removed by the City due to decay at the base and concern over public safety. The trees are around 70 years old. No outreach was made to the community regarding the tree removals.

The three Chinese Elm trees scheduled for removal provide shade for the picnic area of Valencia Park. Photo by Jensen Hallstrom

According to Public Works Superintendent Dan Diaz, the trees will be removed within the next 30 days, after which new trees will be planted.

The decay for at least one of the trees is believed to be related to improper watering and mechanical damage from mowing the surrounding grass, practices that led to the removal of six Chinese Elms at Adlena Park last year. The other two trees may be stressed from the surrounding impervious concrete cover over their root systems and soil compaction.

Diaz says that Tree Services Inspector Roger Cardenas will develop a plan for proper watering and mulching of the new trees.

The loss of the trees will remove all shade in the picnic area of the park, and no mitigation measures are planned aside from the new trees, which will take time to replicate the lost shade.

Parks and Rec Commissioner Jensen Hallstrom said he believes there should have been more community outreach when deciding to remove such historic and important shade trees, and that there are alternatives to removal, such as strategic pruning to remove excess weight, re-routing sprinklers to prevent further damage, and establishing mulch buffers around the trunks to prevent wounds from mowers and weed-whackers.

“Removing heritage trees with such cultural and historical value is devastating,” Hallstrom said. “Parks in Fullerton are seeing severe losses of mature canopy cover especially in south Fullerton where shade is already a scarce resource.”

Hallstrom has requested that the City postpone removal to get a second opinion, and to gather input from the community.

“I’ve requested that the landscape department postpone the removals until there can be a community meeting in order to inform the residents what the plans are and get input on possible alternative solutions to removal such as strategic pruning and soil/ root system restoration.” Hallstrom said. “The trees are declining in health because of a history of improper pruning (topping) which has stressed the trees, and overspray from sprinklers, which causes the lawn to grow close to the tree trunks where lawn mowers and weed whackers then inadvertently damage and wound the trunk while cutting grass near it. The excess moisture from routine soaking of the trunks from sprinklers creates conditions for decay to spread throughout the wounds and create cavities in the trunk.”

If you see an X painted on a tree in your neighborhood, it is a sign that the tree is scheduled for removal.

Residents who have questions are encouraged to contact Dan Diaz at dan.diaz@cityoffullerton.com or Roger Cardenas (Roger.cardenas@cityoffullerton.com) or by calling (714) 738-6897.

8 replies »

  1. @David

    Horses for courses.

    When lack of funds is the actual barrier to a solution, raising taxes or redirecting funds from elsewhere can make sense.

    This looks like more to be an issue of incompetence. For which we should demand accountability.

    Based on your juvenile snark, you subscribe to the common fallacy that you can induce competence by cutting the budget.

    Just ain’t so. You induce competence through good hiring practices, management and oversight to ensure accountability.

    • Or you could get rid of incompetent employees. No, wait. You can’t can you?

  2. Nothing to see here, damaged trees can fall and hurt children and adults in the park. They will be replaced. Jensen needs to get a job however, he doesn’t have the expertise or experience to be an arborist.
    Now let’s talk about the streets.

    • “Nothing to see here”

      70 year old trees lost due to poor maintenance.

      That’s “something” in my opinion.

      “They will be replaced.”

      With what? How long before whatever they’re replaced with can produce the same service?

  3. If the trees have to go for safety, they have to go. But someone needs to be held responsible for damaging trees that are important to the public. What expectation does anyone have that it won’t happen again? It only takes a little bad maintenance to undo 70 years of growth.

    If they cannot be saved it’s also important to replace their function. Transplanting mature trees would be more reasonable than what they will plant if left to their own devices.

  4. Jensen Hallstrom makes sense. Postpone, get a second opinion, consult the public. These are all easy gains, and will greatly inform city’s decision.