Diseased trees in Grass Valley’s Condon Park to come down | TheUnion.com

Diseased trees in Grass Valley’s Condon Park to come down

On Tuesday, the Grass Valley City Council approved a contract to remove 17 dead and dying pine trees by the picnic area in Condon Park.

According to Jim Norman of Trees Unlimited, an inspection of the area showed eight pines that are brown and three turning light green, which he said meant they will be brown within weeks.

“There are approximately six to eight other pines that are heavily infected with bark beetle, mountain pine beetle and eastern and western bark beetle,” Norman wrote. “If these trees are not dealt with soon, a lot more will die.”

The council approved a contract for $9,360 that included removing the trees, hauling chips and logs, and leaving scrap wood.

Bark beetle kill has been an ongoing issue for Grass Valley.

Bark beetles are attracted to old, diseased or stressed trees, where they lay eggs underneath the bark and eat the cambium layer that carries trees’ nutrients. They also inject a fungus that prevents sap production. The state’s drought conditions in recent years significantly weakened many trees and provided the perfect habitat for the beetles. A healthy tree can secrete resin to kill invading bark beetles, but weakened trees are unable to produce that defensive response.

In 2016, Grass Valley started a Community Reforestation Program and removed more than 250 infected trees from city property. At the time, City Manager Tim Kiser expected similar or even higher numbers in 2017.

The numbers actually went down in 2017 and 2018, Kiser said Wednesday, largely due to wetter winters.

But the city still is removing 40 to 50 infected trees per year.

“That’s still quite a few trees for just a few parks,” Kiser said. “It’s still something we have to be worried about.”

In the past, he said, because of the sheer volume of trees being taken down, the city had to chip material on site. Now they have everything hauled off before chipping, to keep the bark beetles from spreading in the area.

Kiser’s got his fingers crossed for plenty of snow this winter.

“We’re hoping we continue a wet cycle,” he said. “That should help trees fight infestations better.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lizk@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

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