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Agenda Item #D-2 Council Meeting Date 8/26/14

From: domainremoved <Britt>
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2014 16:08:08 -0700

Dear Mayor and Council Members,

Agenda Item D-2 is for annual tree maintenance services to be provided
by West Coast Arborists, Inc. The Staff Report indicates that these
services are to include tree trimming and aesthetic pruning in
accordance with standards of the Western Chapter of the International
Society of Arboriculture (ISA). How does the City evaluate the quality
and performance of this work? Is a program in place that identifies a
tree pruning and shaping schedule as guidance for the contractor? Are
pruning objectives clearly stated as recommended by ISA? Is a random
number of trees within each zone of the Landscaping District selected,
without contractor knowledge of which trees are selected, and pre-and
post-trimming comparisons conducted?

I have an approximately 20 year old, city-planted cork oak in front of
my house, and I must say I'm underwhelmed at the level of service that
has been performed on the tree by the City and its contractors since
its planting. I recall one year, maybe about 10 years ago, I observed
a tree crew in my neighborhood conducting what appeared to be a
drive-by snip snip on city trees each lasting a few minutes. Upon
inspection of my oak, I observed maybe a half dozen cuts were made by
the tree crew. Other than this event and the removal of a tree limb
damaged by the now-mechanized garbage collection trucks, I can recall
no city or contractor performed maintenance on the tree.

The ISA stresses the importance of establishing a strong scaffold
structure when a tree is young, which commonly results in the need for
less corrective pruning in the future. As well, objectives in
maintaining tree health appropriately include reducing the density of
live branches that increase light levels below, reduce wind resistance
and improve aesthetics.

This summer, city council approved an increase in the tree assessment
fee rate. Whether the lack of trimming to my oak tree is a city
program issue or a contractor performance issue, I would like to see
and feel that our assessment fees are utilized appropriately for the
long-term health of our heritage trees.


Britt von Thaden
1011 Berkeley Avenue
Received on Sun Aug 24 2014 - 16:04:23 PDT

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