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Historic Santa Barbara Pine Trees to Be Cut Down

Four Italian Stone Pine trees on Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara are going to be cut down after they died from issues linked to age, drought, and bark beetles. Several majestic pine trees line both sides of the street for several blocks. They were first planted in 1908, and more went in ten years later.

The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department says work crew will be cutting the trees down beginning about 8 a.m. Monday. Signs have been posted on each tree.

Assistant Park Director Jill Zachary says the trees are city treasures and an extra effort has been put into the planning to save the remaining trees. That will include a treatment to get rid of the bark beetles, and also additional watering.

Newly designed drip systems known as irricades will be installed in November, to slowly water the trees over a long period of time.

Nearby large water bags have been attached to other trees to do a similar type of watering.

Even with this increased water plan, the park department says it has still cut back water use 20 percent from the pre drought days.

( VIDEO for this story will be added later)

The FULL city information sheet on this issue is below:


The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department would like to notify the public of its efforts to preserve the Historic Anapamu Stone Pines during the drought and the need to remove four trees that recently died. The trees were first planted in 1908 and also between 1919 and 1921, when Anapamu Street was a dirt roadway without improved sidewalks. Since then, the trees and their root systems have been increasingly constrained by paved roads, sidewalks, overhead and underground utilities, extensive root pruning, and reduced planting space. The severe drought has exacerbated these already difficult growing conditions and a pine bark beetle infestation threatens the trees. Unfortunately, 4 of the 81 trees recently died and need to be removed for public safety. Parks and Recreation Forestry staff will be removing these trees during the week of October 27 to October 30. The trees are located at 305, 334 and 821 East Anapamu Street, and the Anapamu Street side of 1200 Alta Vista Road. The trees are posted and adjacent residents have been notified. Once the trees are removed, the stumps will be ground out. Road traffic on Anapamu Street will maintained to the extent possible while tree removal is underway, however, at times there will be short detours on adjacent streets.

The Parks and Recreation Department is also taking a number of measures to preserve the remaining trees and the majestic corridor they provide for Anapamu Street. These measures include regular monitoring, monthly irrigation, treatment for Pine Bark Beetles, and outreach to Anapamu Street residents. The Department will be installing 25 “irricades” the week of November 3-7 in an effort to increase irrigation effectiveness and efficiency. Irricades are similar to plastic traffic barricades but adapted to disburse 125 gallons of water through soaker hose. If these prove effective, and are not subject to vandalism, the Department will purchase additional units to provide coverage for more trees. Any tree that is not watered by an irricade will continue to be watered by City staff. This direct irrigation by the City is the most effective way to provide water to the trees. Due to the severe drought, the Department will postpone planting new trees until the drought declaration is lifted.

“The stone pines are magnificent trees of great value to the community and the city’s urban forest. The ones to be removed will be missed tremendously. We will endeavor to do all that we can to make sure the remaining trees thrive during the drought and for many years beyond,” stated Mayor Helene Schneider.

The Parks and Recreation Department has developed a strategic drought response plan for all of its parks, golf and recreation facilities as well as a drought action plan focused on City designated Historic and Specimen Trees. The drought response plan can be viewed at: The Historic and Specimen Tree Drought Action Plan is located here:

“We are taking the drought conditions very seriously, our goals are to maintain critical resources to provide community services while also meeting the City’s Stage 2 drought 20% reduction in water use. Trees are a significant environmental, social and economic resource that take many years to develop. Maintaining our trees is a high priority,” stated Jill Zachary, Assistant Parks and Recreation Director.

For more information about the Anapamu Stone Pines, as well as how residents can help support preserving City trees during the drought, please contact Tim Downey, Urban Forest Superintendent at 805-564-5433.

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