How do we Eliminate Dangerous Eucalyptus Trees?

By Denise S. Adams

How do we mobilize to get the City and County to remove dangerous, combustible Eucalyptus trees? The founding estate Barrons imported from Australia these foreign weed trees that spread quickly, and are cost-prohibitive to maintain. Each tree costs property owners thousands which results in neglect: pay the water bill or pay for tree care.

The County only wants to maintain certain trees every 5-10 years by pruning a few branches. Occasionally  Edison will trim a few branches, only if branches engage with high power wires, and multiple customers complain.   EDISON does agree it would be wonderful for the Barker Pass Rd trees to be removed that are in the extreme high wind tunnel.   EDISON acknowledges that nothing has changed since the 1925 earthquake and fire due to exposed high voltage wires, and old transformers.

With Sacramento planning to take over PG&E, and possibly Edison due to fires, we can expect less or no maintenance in Calzuela.  City Council has yet to focus on fire and disaster prevention.

As part of the endangered species of property owners, what’s the plan to remove these horrible trees? We’ve had enough drama and trauma in Montecito and SB.

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Past Articles

 December 29, 2018 – Eucalyptus Tree Falls on Home



Written by SBWoman

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  1. So you are looking for some other entity to take care of YOUR problem and not wanting to take personal responsibility ($$$$) to deal with eucalyptus trees on your property…. And you live in the Riviera, which, I’m guessing, your property is worth at least $2 million dollars…. Classic.

  2. The trees are picturesque, but hazardous. Upon returning to our home after the Tea or Jesusita Fire, there was a small charred eucalyptus branch in my backyard even though the fire stopped a mile from the house. In my opinion, they are an invasive species. They are a poor fit for our bioregion for many reasons.

  3. I can imagine Barker Pass without Eucalyptus trees. It would look alot different, and property values would decrease because those trees give that road the attractive semi-rural character that attracted existing residents. So sure, cut them all down and enjoy the ambiance of fast traffic and increased noise, and thanks in advance for further embedding this shortcut between SB and Montecito. Maybe if you’re lucky, it will become a real state highway – but be careful leaving your driveway.

  4. HIGHLY COMBUSTIBLE, grow and propagate like weeds choking out native plants, dropping huge limbs in high winds damaging life and property… What don’t you like about that! Unfortunately, the locals go nuts whenever anyone wants to remove one. Just crazy.

  5. When I was a student teacher many years ago, a eucalyptus tree in the parking lot of the school dropped a limb right at pick-up time, landing on a parent. She was injured, and I assume had to spend time in the hospital. It wasn’t long before the school district’s work crews were out there lopping the limbs off all the eucalyptus trees at that school. I’ve also heard they’re full of oil and go up like match sticks during a fire. Just what we need here.

  6. There’s a 70+’ tall Eucalyptus street tree directly in front of our home. The tree has got to be 80+ years old. My family and I spend plenty of time picking up sticks (after blustery winds, especially), year-round. The tree roots have cracked and raised our concrete driveway and it cost about $6,000 to put in a new drive—-which, now 20 years later, is cracked again and raised by the euc roots and will need to be redone. We can’t plant and maintain flowers or fruit trees in the soil within 40′ of the tree, because the euc roots suck out all the water. We have had big branches fall. About five years ago, one falling branch took out phone, cable TV/Wi-fi and electric lines. We had to pay $700 to replace our electric power line. (This mini-disaster could have been prevented, but the City arborist didn’t think the tree needed a trim at that time. He later realized his mistake). We spend A LOT of time sweeping leaves. One year there was so much nectar from the euc blossoms, our concrete street turned black with dripping syrupy nectar.—————— If someone came over tomorrow and told me that “our” eucalyptus tree was slated to be removed, I would chain myself to the tree. I would raise such a stink, it would make national headlines. The Acorn woodpeckers have a nesting cavity in that tree. The Red-tail and sometimes Red-shouldered hawks and, seasonally, the Sharp-shinned hawks all use that euc as a surveillance post, while searching for prey. The Yellow-rumped warblers, the Hooded orioles, the White-breasted nuthatches and American crows and Anna’s hummingbirds LOVE that tree. Bees harvest the nectar from the euc blossoms. We compost the leaves. The smaller branches and twigs provide lignum for our fruit trees. Of all the trees in our neighborhood, this euc is one of the tallest, most majestic. People who talk about “invasive” trees are likely the same people who can’t abide tree “litter” and have no concept how trees work to clean the air of odors and pollutant gases. These same people probably have little or no appreciation for the shelter, shade, food, beauty and clean air provided by Santa Barbara’s Eucalyptus trees. Hooray for the 50 species of Eucalyptus trees in Santa Barbara. I love each and every one of them.

  7. Channel your inner Paul Bunyan and cut those euc’s with one cut to their base. I’ll be at Barker Pass tomorrow at 0600 sharpening my saw. Once the Montecito Mom’s have had a coffee I’ll fire it up and you can watch me down a few 60 footers. If you bring beer I’ll let you have a go. Let it rip!!!

  8. Oh my… What is it about SB that makes people so irrational about such trivial matters? Is it the water? The constant blabbering about living in paradise? Or the general lack of perspective (many people never leave the bubble)? Not sure but this post is the epitome of the syndrome that affects so many. ———————— Its a tree. It will fall someday. Possibly even this winter as Eucs cannot handle wet soil. Hopefully you won’t be chained to the tree when it does fall or held responsible if it falls on your neighbors… I love trees but falling in love with a Euc that has already cost you so much is more than a little whacked, its cra cra.

  9. It is a little presumptuous to expect the City & County to remove the trees – there are hundreds of them in SB! Agreed, they are non-native, extremely flammable and a general mess to maintain. They were planted throughout California a very long time ago, under the false notion that they could be used as lumber. If anything, it is an example of not doing the research needed to back up a notion. But to expect the City & County to just go around and cut them down?!? Really – how much would that cost? What would be left, stumps? What about the erosion that would occur in their absence? Are you really just wanting someone to take on the responsibility and expense of taking out the trees that are bothering you?

  10. No. After the Woolsey and Camp fires and catastrophic loss of life in the town of Paradise, this is a post-eco extremism America. The era of Eucalyptus trees is over. All of them need to leave California this year.

  11. Sycamore and Paper trees share a similar visual aesthetic and are safer for California. Tigers are beautiful animals but do we want them roaming freely and feeding on dogs, cats and children just so you can occasionally gaze sighing at them?
    This is essentially The Zoo Argument. Eucalyptus trees are Australia natives and need to return there. You are free to visit Sydney anytime to list before their highly combustible ‘beauty’.

  12. A 1546619819- for fire protection CA, City and County MUST start removing Eucalyptus trees from high fire areas that are a buffer to protecting the City from fire. Prioritize Eucalyptus Tree removal: Start with high fire High Wind tunnel areas like Barker Pass, Cold Spring and Ashley Roads, Coyote and Sycamore Canyon Roads at the curve, Hwy 154… Westmont removed most of its Eucalyprus Trees after the 2008 Tea Fire. There are mega- Fire Prevention Grant monies that have been allocated to Montecito and Santa Barbara after the Thomas Fire. A question is if you want salary increases to the $500K for the Chiefs and $300K for fire Staff with lifetime pensions or fire safety for the masses of residents in the City and in West Montecito who are not deep pocket wealthy but rather working stiffs, along with many struggling renters. Shouldn’t some tax money be allocated for our benefit?

  13. It’s a safety issue. Fire prevention grant monies from our paid taxes are available to prevent fires. Some chiefs want to use this money to increase fire salaries which from CaliforniaTransparent are in the $200,000- $500,000 range with life-long pensions at highest last salary. Prevention money should benefit citizens and property owners in dangerous high fire areas. Combustible High Oul trees need to be removed in these designated areas. Once a fire starts these designated high fire areas serve as first line of defense to City protecting tens of thousands residents. Cut down the Eucalyptus in those areas near high wires.

  14. Oaks and Sycamores are the only native trees, all others are “immigrants”. COASTWATCH, living in a home worth 2 mil doesn’t mean the owners are rich. My Uncle built a home (did all the work) on the Riviera in 1962, the lot cost 9 thousand. Sure it came to be worth 2 mil but Uncle died and Aunt was living on her pension. That make her wealthy?

  15. COASTWATCH & ICEANDREW: No. I do not live on the Riviera. I do not live on Barker Pass Rd. I live near Barker Pass Rd. I have one Eucalyptus Tree on my vertical hillside lot which adjoins the Hammett Estate. This tree is maintained at a cost of $1800/year: removal is $7000 for one tree, $5000 for 2-10, $3000 for 10-20, and $2400 for 20 or more trees. It is cost effective to have multiple trees removed at the same time, but I only have one tree. I have been evacuated 3 times in 9 years, and experienced another power outage and fire on Christmas Day 11 days ago. The home on my property burned inn1977.
    The trees along Barker Pass Rd are a danger to me, to others on West Montecito, and to the Eastside.
    We are the buffer zone, first line of defense protecting the City. Houses in our area are the ones the regularly burn.
    Many common fire insurance underwriters stopped writing Fire policies here in 2008. Consequently, Americans requiring a mortgage who cannot cash out a home, cannot buy here. Foreigners parking their money, second owners and investors, buy here. Hence, fewer students at Cold Spring School: the enrollment dropped from 247 to 168. Not an issue in a basic aid funded district because salaries & benefits increase with fewer students, with the ability to maintain payroll. My street of 7 homes pays over $185,000 in property tax with finally 1 student enrolled at Cold Spring: yahoo! I’m the FT Resident, therefore I rep my neighborhood interests.
    West Montecito- CSS District residents, who are both City and Montecito Residents, are attempting to mitigate Fire Hazards. The Eucalyptus Trees along Barker Pass Rd are a major hazard. An inventory has been taken.
    There are 107 mostly dying and diseased Eucalyptus Trees on the Montecito side of Barker Pass; more on the City side. The County, City plus City Fire and Montecito Fire received Fire Prevention and Fire Mitigation Grant Monies, after the Thomas Fire. While we wish the trees had been taken out in 1979 after the 1977 Sycamore Fire, as recommended by the Eucalyptus Hill Association, approved and planned, they were not removed. In the intervening time their number has tripled on the Montecito side. Everyone in my area is a responsible homeowner. These Barker Eucalyptus Trees are bigger than us or our capacity to protect the Eastside or Riviera in the City.
    We will pay to replace all trees as agreed in 1979. I have no idea why the trees were not removed in 1979 as planned. I hope this answers your post.

  16. $1800 EVERY YEAR for one tree? I’d say your immediate problem is that your tree trimmer is BURNING you.
    I suggest postponing trimming for a few years and save for removal.
    @YETI pretty much the same can be said for native coast live oaks: highly combustible, limb drop, seedlings invading everywhere (ban scrub jays and squirrels?)

  17. Oh yes, get rid of all non-native plants, animals, and humans… Eucalyptus trees are also natural habitats for Monarch Butterflies… another invasive species (haha)… Unfortunately, the population of Monarchs is down considerably this year, perhaps due in no small part to the continued hysteria regarding Eucalyptus trees….

  18. I disagree with your evaluation of the mess and issues that oak trees make. ——————————— ———————————————————————————————————–So OP, the road is literally City on one side & County on the other?! ouch. In my experience, SB City will not allow a homeowner to remove ANY tree. I applied to do so for now almost 3 story tall palms. I was denied. Last year, Edison took one down, FREE for me. If the other palms were in a different spot on my property I could remove them — and Edison might do it for free. Yes, it’s infuriating. (I did not plant them, the birds did; and my deceased mother liked the palms — and never had them cleaned. It costs me approx. $1500-$2000 a year to keep them trimmed. I could have them removed by an unlicensed company/workers, but if someone was hurt… possibly good bye house. Good tree companies want a permit.

  19. get rid of all the trees, they are just mooching off our resources anyways. first world problems here, gezzus get over it. that tree probably provides the air you are hopelessly huffing and puffing while looking at a tree that was planted probably before you were born, hell ALL of us. talk about invasive species. we are the invasive one

  20. We need to trim the draconian powers of the city arborist – Urban Forest manager. If anyone wants a taste of true socialism, try to get rid of a non-native, dangerous and expensive tree in this city on your own private property. There needs to be a de minimum provision in this eco-terrorism ordinance. Each property owner gets to deal with at least one tree a year on their own private property, without having to jump all the bells, whistles, expense, time and hoops that most likely wil get an arrogant denial from the city tree tzar in the first place. This ordinance is one way to hate our own city, just so city council can feel good about themselves.

  21. She said palm trees. Plural Yes, they are about $500 each to trim to keep the fronds from crushing the roof. Do you see how they have to do this – find someone who can and is willing to scale up the tree trunk – many, many stories high, just belted around the trunk and then saw away at the dangerous dropping fronds. That is an obscene demand made on the workers and the owner for the city’s ill-begotten tree hugging agenda. Time for change. This tree ordinance now causes more harm than good. No one wants to live without trees; but lots of us want to live without the crushing expense and danger this ordinance now demands.

  22. This is priceless. People who have, typically, lived here less than a couple decades want to chop down trees 60+ years old. Please, anti-tree mob, move to Bakersfield, pronto. Transplant yourselves to a location where trees won’t be a bother to you and leave our trees alone.

  23. City need to revisit the tree ordinance regulations and open it to public discussion, now that we have lived with its intent and practice for a number or years. All city ordinances should go through regular review. are they meeting their original intent. Has the law of unintended consequences made them more burdensome, than beneficial. Are duties and obligations shared equally and fairly between the city and the residents. Can the worst aspects be mitigated. Can the essential benefits be preserved. But being choked with irrational demands is not the way we build a healthy city together.

  24. Irrational demands – the layers and layers of application and review one has to go through to remove a hazardous and expensive tree on their own property, if it falls within the city’s sweeping protection zones, beyond even the city street tree protection zones. We need a de minimus exemption for every property owner – at least one permit-free tree removal per year, if this is what the owner concludes is best for their own property and pocket book. Right now the city imposed an unfunded mandate on the property owner to pay for ongoing tree maintenance when in fact that tree should be removed.

  25. Do you want to pay for the property owners city mandated tree maintenance? No, I suspect not. Let them choose what works best for their own property. Trees can outgrow their usefulness, rob the owner of excessive water demands, clean up and root invasions into plumbing and pavings. The city’s draconian demands that affect a tree owners property and pocket book have gone too far. Where is your offer to share this onerous and ongoing expense? I am waiting.

  26. This state infrastructure was last planned for 20 million residents. It has quickly grown in the past few decades to 40 million residents with no infrastructure ability to absorb those numbers. Instead we created consequence free term-limited elected officials who engage in short term re-election politics. Any long-term responses of our huge and growing resource and infrastructure liabilities get short-changed in their zeal to win re-election cash from the massive government employee unions who have been long skimming off the top, leaving the majority of state residents with very little in return, except this growing long term debt for government employee benefits. This is crazy.

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