Dead trees on 8th removed this week

The dead Arbutus trees along 8th Ave that we wrote about in May will be removed this week.

Starting tomorrow, SDOT Urban Forestry crews will be taking down approximately 40 dead trees that didn’t survive last winter’s harsh weather. Crews will be working from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The dead trees will not be tossed out, they’ll be put to good use. Nolan Rundquist, the City Arborist, tells us that the wood will be constructed into arbors, trellises and bird houses at the Childrens PlayGarden project at 23rd Ave S and S Grand S.

The trees along 8th will be replaced next spring. “In the interest of maintaining diversity in Seattle’s Urban Forest, SDOT will be selecting a different variety of tree for replacement,” Rundquist says. The new trees haven’t been selected yet.

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The founders of My Ballard

7 thoughts to “Dead trees on 8th removed this week”

  1. Usually we call these “Madronas” in the PNW. I have never heard of them being referred to directly as an “Arbutus” although I think that is still technically correct.

  2. I have never heard them called by their formal name either. I assumed the reason they were dying was because Madronas need very specific soil conditions to live and I didn't think being planted along 8th as being the most ideal of locations. Does anyone know of other Madronas dying?

  3. I remember reading about a Madrona blight affecting madronas here and in California. I can't remember the specifics though – we had to cut one down at my family's place on Vashon last year.

  4. I believe these trees are actually Arbutus marina and not Arbutus menzezii (Pacific Madrone, our PNW native). I think the marina is native to California.

    Notice that all of the “dead” trees are resprouting quite significantly at their base. I would have like to have seen what they would look like with the dead secondary branches pruned and that beautiful bark of the remaining tree surrounded by fresh “shrubbery” – rather than removing them all and starting over with something with less of a local feel (and small stature).

  5. If these trees are 'Marina' (which it seems likely they are), it should be noted that 'Marina' is a variety of Arbutus, not a species, and a variety of uncertain lineage at that. Which probably explains why SDOT used “arbutus” (the name of the genus, and thus of any generic member thereof) rather than “madrone” (Arbutus menziesii) or even “strawberry tree” (A. unedo), which is what I always figured they were.

    As for their leaving them there: when trees grow back after die-off, they are invariably structurally weaker than they were before (multiple trunks vs. a single trunk, etc), which makes them very poor choices for street trees. So it makes sense that SDOT wants to replace them rather than let them regrow. And they might still get replaced with a native(ish) tree; 'Marina', after all, only looks PNW —it's actually 100% Mediterranean.

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