‘Tree City’ Decapitates Trees

Todd Warden wrote in to tell us how the unsightly drainage ditch along Malvern/Chapman avenues is becoming further uglified by the city without regard for the surrounding neighborhood or the health of the landscaping.

He awoke one morning to find that the city had ordered the 30 foot tall trees hacked down to about 6 feet, while randomly selected shrubs were cut to the stump. The fully developed trees had been shielding motorists view of the ugly flood control channel and it’s rusty chain link fence for years.

Just a little off the top.

“In the past they have always just trimmed the trees back and kept the height leaving a swell green belt and noise buffer in contrast to other areas of the Malvern/Chapman eyesore,” wrote Todd. The city told him that they had no money to replant new trees and shrubs, but the mature trees were taken out anyway.

I’m no arborist, but hacking a 30ft tree by 80% seems like a great way to kill it. If the city doesn’t have the funds to replace prominent landscaping features, they ought to just leave them alone or trim them as reasonably necessary. Together, Malvern and Chapman form one of Fullerton’s main east/west arteries, and it’s a disgrace for our city to destroy what little aesthetics it has left.

A fresh view from the beautiful grounds of The Muck.

It’s worth nothing that Fullerton frequently boasts about its 29-year title of “Tree City USA” as bestowed by the Arbor Day Foundation.

That's not very good either.

As for the future of the flood control channel, Todd has some ideas:

“What about replanting the entire strip of the canal that literally splits the entire city from Buena Park to Harbor Blvd. Tall palms or low water use flowering hedges would beautify the city for residents and visitors that use the artery. Another idea would be to cover the ditch for a bike path that would allow residents and visitors to reach downtown and the Buena Park Metrolink station.”

21 Replies to “‘Tree City’ Decapitates Trees”

  1. Over the years I have learned that some trees are more equal than others, and the more destructive and unattractive, the more likely they are to be prized and cherished.

  2. Wonton disregard for the public’s resources. Could it be retribution or apathy resulting from budget and pay cuts? Hard to say.

  3. And how about those works-of-art trees between library and city hall–cut to the ground for convenience of the construction work. Next will be that one, even bigger and more impressive, between the senior center and the athletic field across from city hall. To say nothing of the 300 cut at Hillcrest so the slope could be worked on conveniently for development of the athletic field. And all the ones cut downtown for nightclub conveniencing–about a dozen.

  4. Those flood control channels belong to the County Flood Control District. Maybe they can do something.

  5. With the close proximity to the channel and being directly under the telephone and power lines I can’t help but wonder if it was the County, Edison, AT&T, or the City who paid to remove them.
    “He awoke one morning to find that the city had ordered the 30 foot tall trees hacked down to about 6 feet…” The chainlink fence is about 5-6FT and the tree stumps look twice as tall!

    1. Those phone lines are on the other side of the channel on the residential property behind a block wall. Doesn’t look like a problem.

      Look at the second photo. Some of the trees are barely above the height of the passing car. The fence foundation is well below the curb height.

  6. Yep, they sure are on the opposite side!! I was looking at the first photo with respect to the fence, but the other images do show some strange pruning techniques that I would be surprised if an arborist approved of. That’s the wild and crazy City Hall staff for you: always content to spend taxpayer money needlessly…

  7. How about the beauitful mature trees along Whiting, near Bank of America which were taken out a few years ago, now so stark!

    City planted tree in front of our house, only 8 months old, WCA trimmed because we didn’t know could tell them no, don’t trim, who knew?now has this hole in the canopy..

  8. Go to the Library (you’ll have to call ahead and see if they’re open) and look up the tree planting plan for the City. There are only a few streets, like Jacaranda, that actually have the correct arborist-specified trees planted.

  9. I like the idea of covering the ditch and using as a bike path. Fullerton has great trails but not much paths good for commuters.

  10. I woke up a couple months ago to the sound of a tree chipper shredding branches. Looked out the window and here’s Asplundh cutting branches off *our* trees, not the City’s.

    Apparently they can do whatever they want as contractor for Southern California Edison. Our trees were growing near some power lines…

    1. Edison has a utility easement. Speaking of easements, that tree in your “parkway” belongs to you. But it’s in the City’s ROW. No, You may not cut it down.

  11. I have a real vague recollection from the middle 1990s, that certain City Council members discussing that regulations of the Orange County Flood Control District required the various cities to sometimes cut back vegetation, because of a fear that trunks would break off during a severe storm, fall into the channel, and then block drainage. This could happen, even where grates and screens had been installed to prevent such things. Which department of the City has responsibility for this kind of preventive maintenance for the city’s portion of the flood control system? Can anyone down there find out?? Best wishes, WSH

    1. That almost makes sense, except that “topping” trees like this makes branches grow much faster, but without the proper structure, thus INCREASING the likelihood of broken branches.

      1. Exactly, by removing most or all of the leaf mass you force the tree to regrow a bunch of quick branches and leaf mass to keep from dying. The fast growth is unnatural and weak, and it just makes matters worse.

        Basically once you mutilate a tree by ‘hard’ topping, you’re done, because the correct structure will never return. You end up in an endless cycle of topping and rapid, unnatural growth, and topping, and…

        Nice work guys :/

  12. That is so frustrating, especially as you say,the trees have been shielding the view of a particularly unsightly structure. I just don’t get how and why they decide to do this.

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