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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Arborist Report on Tree Collapse Issued, Finally

Arborist Report on Tree Collapse Issued, Finally

by Pasadena Independent
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An independent, certified arborist hired by the City of Pasadena to investigate the sudden collapse of an Italian Stone Pine tree in front of Kidspace Museum in Brookside Park said several factors most likely contributed to the tree’s failure July 28, 2015.
Arborist Ted Lubeshkoff of JTL Consultants wrote in a seven-page report there were several possible contributing factors that may have caused the tree to fall, including absence of anchoring roots; a slight lean in the tree; recent drought conditions and heavy weight due to increased water uptake following recent rains.

Among the observations made by the arborist from his inspection:
•The tree was 85 feet tall; had a trunk diameter of about 42 inches and a canopy width of about 60 feet by 60 feet
•The tree fell in an easterly direction
•The tree did not have a root crown on the east side of the tree, the direction it fell
•No distinct root crown on the west side of the tree
•The tree did not have wide-spreading anchoring roots
•Large girdling roots were visible within the uplifted root system
•No root rot fungus was present
•Historic evidence of fire damage indicated from black charcoal and white ash in a cavity on the underneath side of the tree, possibly from hot barbecue coals
•The tree had a slight lean

The arborist noted an increase in water consumption by the tree probably added substantial weight to it after about .61 inches of rain occurred July 19 and July 20, less than 10 days prior to its collapse.

“The Italian stone pine probably could not release water as quickly as it was taking water in, causing a substantial increase in weight throughout the tree,” the report noted.

The report concluded:

“A lean in the tree, by itself, is not necessarily an indicator of an unstable tree. However, the lean combined with the heavy weight due to increased water uptake and the absence of anchoring roots on the east and west side of the tree most likely contributed to the tree’s instability and failure.”

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