The city of Davis was forced to cut down a carob tree on the southwest corner of F and Third Streets Thursday after its structural fibers had begun to rot due to disease.
Passersby may have noticed crews using a cherry picker to reach upper portions of the tree and cut it into pieces.
The city discovered fungal conks had taken root on the 48-year-old tree, indicating that the tree had started to deteriorate from the inside.
According to the city’s arborist, Rob Cain, the tree was removed because the disease had compromised its structural integrity, jeopardizing the safety of passing pedestrians.
Cain explained how the tree became infected.
“There’s been some large pruning wounds done on it in the past, so as those wounds do not close over, those are open infection sites,” Cain explained. “Whatever fungal spores that get blown around through downtown can land in those open wounds and with the right environment, go ahead and infect the tree.
“That’s why we try not to make too big of cuts on our trees when we’re cutting them because the big wounds take a long time to seal over.”
Cain says the city has no plans of replacing the deceased tree with another carob tree because the planting area is too tight for that large of a tree, but other species will be considered.
The carob tree stood about 30 feet tall and measured 15 to 20 inches in diameter. Cain doesn’t recall any similar infections taking place in trees in the city.
Aside from safety concerns, if the city decided not to cut down the tree, it could have infected neighboring trees as well.
“The spores from the fungal conk, the fruit, if those basically spread to a neighboring tree — say the neighboring tree has a wound — then it could infect a neighboring tree,” Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowicz said.
Though, the situation Stachowicz described is not as likely to occur in the downtown area, as it’s a disease more common to a forest with a high density of trees.
The tree’s removal cost the city approximately $300. According to Cain, the appraised value of similar trees is about $4,000.
— Reach Tom Sakash at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8057. Follow him on Twitter @TomSakash.