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City okays removal of dying tree

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

October 18, 2006

A dying Norway Maple will soon be removed from the city right-of-way in front of the Wine Sellers.

Cathy and Don Kelter have received permission from Hood River officials to cut down the tree at 514 State St. The maple has been diagnosed as potentially dangerous by an expert in tree health.

“If we felt this maple was able to be saved we would have tried to do that. But it is creating a safety hazard and needs to be removed,” said Bob Francis, city manager.

David Braun of Braun Arboricultural Consulting of Hood River provided Francis on Oct. 9 with a written assessment of the tree. According to his report, the 45-foot tall maple has crown die-back and dead areas of the lower trunk.

He said the tree, believed to be 50-70 years old, has a severe systemic fungal disease, which could be the cause of the dieback. However, Braun said mechanical damage from trucks and snowplows, or digging under the street, may all have contributed to the problem. In addition, he found signs that wood boring beetles had been at work, further damaging the tree.

The Kelters, who paid for Braun’s services, are following his recommendation to remove the tree in the near future and plant a Redbud. The city has granted permission for that action if the Kelters replace the portion of the sidewalk that has been pushed up by tree roots.

The decision to remove the maple met the approval of Jurgen Hess, a local landscape architect.

“Often I’m on the side of saving trees. However, in this situation, the tree should be removed,” stated Hess in an Oct. 13, e-mail to Francis.

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