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Grover Beach’s 90-foot Monterey cypress won’t get axed — at least not yet

The removal of the 90-foot tree from Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach has been put on hold after complaints from residents.
The removal of the 90-foot tree from Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach has been put on hold after complaints from residents. kleslie@thetribunenews.com

The massive 90-foot cypress tree that looms over Ramona Garden Park will live to see another week.

After residents complained that the city was too hasty in its plan to remove the Monterey cypress on Thursday because of a risk of falling branches, Grover Beach City Manager Matt Bronson said the removal has now been put on hold and the City Council will discuss the issue at its meeting Monday.

“We recognize that this is a noticeable tree in one of our landmark parks,” Bronson said. “We felt given that and its potential for safety risks, that it was prudent to bring it to the public for more information.”

Bronson said the city is still concerned about the condition of the tree and the safety risk to the public; he plans to present a plan for removing the tree and replacing it with a healthier option at the Monday meeting.

Grover Beach resident Anita Shower said she plans to have an independent arborist examine it to ensure the tree is actually decaying before it can be removed.

“Trees are important,” Shower said Tuesday. “We’re entitled to trees. And this is almost the biggest tree — it’s one of the largest trees in Grover Beach.”

Shower, the 2016 Pismo Beach Citizen of the Year and author of manners column, “Miss Etiquette,” has also offered to pay to maintain the tree in the future if it is found to be safe.

The park is always full; there are kids and families there all the time. I’m not the only person who loves this tree. I’m just the loudest.

Anita Shower, Grover Beach

Certified arborist David Ragan, of Dave’s Tree Services in Arroyo Grande, recently found “the presence of significant internal decay in all parts of the tree,” according to Bronson. Ragan concluded the condition of the tree could lead to substantial failures, including falling tree limbs that could hurt park-goers or damage vehicles.

The tree is located in a busy area on the east side of the park on North 10th Street.

Grover Beach has spent thousands of dollars to preserve the massive cypress in recent years, including $3,500 to install support cables to reduce limb weight and $1,000 for pruning every 3 to 5 years, according to Bronson. Ramona Park’s parking and sidewalk improvements were also designed around the tree so that it wouldn’t be impacted.

Shower said she brought in a certified arborist to examine the tree several years ago, when the council considered removing the tree because of worries that it was diseased. That arborist said the tree was not diseased, and the council later backed down from removing it.

Shower said she thinks the city wants to remove the tree because it is a financial burden, so she has offered to pay the costs of trimming and caring for the tree every three years.

“The park is always full; there are kids and families there all the time,” she said. “I’m not the only person who loves this tree. I’m just the loudest.”

Shower said she also thinks the city’s estimate that the tree is 30 years old is incorrect; her research showed the tree was closer to 100 years old, based on the diameter of the trunk.

Shower plans to consult her arborist Wednesday to examine the tree before it is potentially removed.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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