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Aging trees to be removed for safety reasons
Large shading elm trees lining the broad streets in front of grand old homes give Colusa a special character.
But five of those elms will be removed this month for hazard and liability reasons.
Caltrans is scheduled to remove the trees on 10th Street near Oak Street on Feb. 19-21.
Drivers can expect delays and possible road closures. The trees are under Caltrans jurisdiction as opposed to the city because 10th Street is part of Highway 20.
"It's great. My husband will be happy to see a couple of them go. The leaves are a big problem. The limbs are falling on Highway 20 and we were concerned for pedestrians," said Deanne Pearson, who has lived in a home behind some of the trees scheduled for removal since 1978.
Pearson said she is not concerned that there is no plan for tree replacement.
"I think they'll be plenty of shade from the ones left," said Pearson. "It'll look funny. Its not going to have the same look with some missing."
The elm trees lining were planted about 100 years ago by Col. George T. Haggard according to the book, "If the Walls Could Talk: Colusa's Architectural Heritage."
"People comment that they like coming to Colusa for the old houses and beautiful trees," said Jim White, a 10th Street resident who grew up in Colusa. Cynthia White, Jim's wife and a member of the Garden Club of Colusa County, is concerned that as the trees age and Caltrans reacts with removal, there is no plan or proper management.
"We attack issues, but we need plans. Part of tree removal is replacement," said White.
White expressed concern that improper management of the trees has lead to their demise. She said that pouring concrete into rot is unhealthy for the tree.
She also expressed concern about the lack of plans in the removal of limbs for electrical lines and for high-clearance vehicles on the highway. She said that as trees grow and expand their canopies they need balance. The way the trees are trimmed currently forces the trees to expand their branches over homes and is unhealthy for the tree.
"It's like when you lose a toe. You still have nine toes, but you'll always walk funny," said White.
White urged Colusa City Council members and the public to attend an upcoming presentation by Warren Roberts, an arborist from UC Davis.
"He will talk about tree maintenance, tree replacement, and what kind of trees would be good to plant," said White.
Roberts will walk through the park and streets in Colusa to analyze the trees, then present his findings to the Garden Club at 6:30 p.m. on March 25 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Colusa.
In May, Colusa celebrated its Tree City USA Designation through the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.