On Monday, the city of Goleta’s Public Works Department presented its tree maintenance plan for the redwoods and other ornamental trees at Stow Grove Park to the Public Tree Advisory Committee.
The committee recommended city staff remove 40 dead redwoods, prune 53 redwoods and replant approximately 100 trees.
It also advised to improve the irrigation system and perform other tree maintenance throughout the park.
Once a land-use permit is issued, a biological survey for sensitive wildlife is conducted and there’s fair weather, work will begin in January 2021.
The redwoods in the park were originally planted in the 1930s, and there are 279 today that represent a mix of the original plantings.
“The redwoods contribute to the charming character of Stow Grove, providing a shady destination and a beautiful backdrop for quiet walks, group picnics and birdwatching for generations of Goletans,” the staff report read.
After the drought from 2011 to 2019, a tree health assessment in 2019 determined 48 trees are in poor condition and 34 are dead.
The tree maintenance plan initially focused on removing the dead redwoods that pose safety risks, which involves safely removing the dead redwoods, grinding the stumps and salvaging usable lumber for future park amenities such as benches, tables and signs. Smaller branches will be chipped onsite and used to mulch the remaining trees.
There will be 75 redwoods and 25 incense cedars replanted to add some diversity and maintain the aesthetics of a tall evergreen tree. In addition, the incense cedar is more tolerant of drier soil conditions, serving as a good strategy to address hotter, drier summer conditions in the future.
“This is a long-term strategy to slowly diversify the grove while retaining the look and feel of the original redwood grove planted by Edgar Stow in the 1930s,” the staff report read.
Furthermore, the new irrigation systems will be able to be checked from a smartphone to address any issues, and more improvements, including addition of drip irrigation for new saplings and misters for established trees is in the works after the dead trees are removed.
Particular care will be taken to avoid impacting nesting birds or other sensitive resources, and a contract biologist will be onsite regularly during work to conduct tailgate training, observe and advise on any potential wildlife issues.
The new saplings and irrigation improvements will most likely be installed from February through April of 2021.