The villain this time is an invasive species.
Regular readers may recall a couple of scattered notes about "thousand cankers disease." The "walnut twig beetle" carries it, and it has come to Salem. Our big walnuts are beginning to wither and die, and at the moment there's no treatment.
|Walnuts line D Street at the State Hospital in February|
As noted by [the consulting arborist] the Black Walnut trees are all experiencing various amounts of branch dieback that are indicative of Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD). Of the fifty-six tress that were evaluated on the property, [they] recommend a total of fourteen (14) be removed because they are in advanced stages of decline and present an unreasonable risk to the public due to...falling dead branches.The City Forester concurred with the consulting arborist, and this appears to be a straightforward assessment - no funny business.
Four trees on D Street and 10 trees on Center Street will be removed, and Oregon White Oaks planted in their place. The new trees will also be recessed an additional five feet from the road to allow for future road widening and/or new sidewalks.
(As wonderful as the walnuts are, when the nuts drop, they are terrible to bike through, and the debris poses an unwanted risk of involuntary dismount. Drivers wonder why we might stray from the bike lane or shoulder to the center of the road in the fall! Purely from this standpoint, native oaks will be much nicer - though of course we'll all be dead before the new trees have large canopies and are equally grand.)
Because of the life cycle of the beetles, the prospect for further spread of the disease, as well as the possibility of nesting birds, the tree removal is scheduled to start this week.
If you're around the neighborhood, consider paying your respects. Especially this week with the glorious sun.
From all appearances, the disease will continue to spread from tree to tree, and the whole planting is at risk. Each year new trees will succumb and have to be removed. There doesn't seem to be a way around this loss, and it's just sad.
Update, March 23rd
Oregon state hospital’s century-old black walnuts coming down http://t.co/U726Ql2rrk via @salem_statesman #sjnow #salemor
— Tracy Loew (@SJWatchdog) March 23, 2015