Tag Archives: trees

Readers worry about dangerous trees and limbs

The in basket: Al and/or Barb Johnson and Clint Newell have asked about trees and limbs they think pose a hazard to drivers in a couple of places in South Kitsap and Bremerton.

“Traveling east on Mile Hill Drive past Colchester,” the Johnsons say, “there are several large limbs over the road forming an impressive archway. It looks like a potential danger if we get heavy snowfall or high winds. Why would these not be trimmed back?”

Clint sees a similar danger on Almira Drive in Bremerton.

“For years I have been very concerned about three trees at the intersection of Almira Drive and Clemens,” he said. “They lean completely over Almira Drive on a 35-40 degree angle. Three or four years ago, the city painted a big X on all three, and I assumed they would be taken down. On rainy or windy days, my wife and I avoid that street, fearing for our safety.”

The out basket: The Mile Hill Drive site does look dangerous should one or more of the large limbs snap and fall on passing traffic. There probably a lot of places in the county as bad, though.

The Almira Drive location is more impressive, as the trees actually are permanently bent at the base and lean outward precipitously. It’s surprising they’ve stood for the three or four years Clint describes.

A bigger surprise: Those trees aren’t as scary as they look, says Bremerton city street engineer Jerry Hauth. “The trees in question have been examined by an arborist and determined not to be an imminent threat. So they aren’t an issue at the present.”

He included an excerpt from the city ordinances that says dangerous trees are among the things property owners are responsible for rectifying, but added, “If it’s property we own (and there are several parcels that have been given to us) or a street end (S. Cambrian @ Coontz, for example), I send it to Public Works.

“We also have the street crew do work in places that isn’t sensible for the adjacent property owners to do it, for example, along 11th street east of Highland north of the west end of the Manette Bridge, and the separation area between upper and lower Shore Drive.”

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works says of the canopy just past Colchester Drive (I think the main road becomes Southworth Drive, no longer Mile Hill Drive, at that spot), “We are aware of this location and monitor the area as a priority during storms. We do have policy that addresses danger trees, as well as roadside vegetation management, but no specific policy regarding overhead canopies.

“There are other locations in the county with similar canopies over the roadway. With the number of trees in Kitsap County the chance of limbs being blown down during a storm is a concern in all locations, including those with overhead canopies.”


County will move Greaves Way trees

The in basket: DJ LaPour read a recent Road Warrior column about Silverdale’s Greaves Way online at kitsapsun.com and posted this comment: “Sadly, the few dozen Thundercloud Plum trees lining Greaves Way are dying from a fungal disease.  So much for landscaping.  I was surprised at the choice of plantings since this variety has been affected by disease all over the Puget Sound area.”

The out basket:The county initially decided to mount a chemical and manual effort to save the trees where they are, but thought better of it.

Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works, without addressing the implied criticism of the choice of that species of tree in the first place, said, “The plum trees are infected with blight caused primarily from poor drainage.” He first described  a program of “cultural methods and chemical treatment to control this disease that  include removing and destroying infected twigs and branches as well as any rotted fruit and an approved fungicide to be applied in early spring when buds break, and at intervals during the spring until dry weather arrives.”

But County Road Superintendent Don Schultz wrote on Thursday, “After further review of our options, we decided to mitigate the situation by removing all of the trees and transplanting them in another area that has suitable soil environment that will sustain them. We will look at planting something else in their place.”


All that firewood lying along state highways

The in basket: Phyllis Bishop wrote on Nov. 24 to say, “My husband and I came from Belfair to Bremerton today, Wow all the fallen trees. The subject came up of who gets the wood from the trees. My husband thinks since it is on state right of way it belongs to the state. Is it legal to cut the wood and remove it?”

The out basket: No, says Duke Stryker, head of maintenance crews for state highways in this area. For liability reasons that are especially pertinent with something as perilous as wood-cutting, they or the state patrol will chase away anyone trying to harvest fire wood from state right of way.

“It would be just a matter of time before someone gets hurt or a vehicle runs off the road and hits someone,” he said. Unfortunately, we can’t allow it.”

State crews, aided by crews from the Department of Corrections’ prisons, will clean up the deadfall in time, and take it to a recycling center, he said.

That’s not a very high priority. At present, he said, they are repairing and replacing damaged guardrail from trees that fell across it in the most recent storm.

He said the stretch of Highway 3 that Phyllis mentions was the hardest hit area in Kitsap, the hardest hit county in that storm. It was fallen trees, not icy pavement that kept it closed between Sunnyslope and Lake Flora roads the day after, he said. His crews were using plows to push around trees and other debris so power crews could get to the lines in the area.

I asked Kitsap County about fallen tree cleanup while I was at it and found its rules to be different.

Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap public works says they regard storm debris on county right of way to be the property of the adjoining property owner. Most county right of way is in the form of an easement, rather than straight ownership, he said.

So access to fallen trees along county roads would require the same kind of permission from the the private owner as it would had the trees fallen outside the right of way.