With wind speeds of more than 20 mph and gusts of up to 35 mph, Sunday was a blustery day in the City of Colusa.
The high winds brought down a total of four large limbs in town, including one on the first block of Oak Street, one on the 900-block of Carson Street, and two at the Sacramento River State Park, according to city manager Jesse Cain.
One of the limbs hit a car, but there was no damage resulting from the other three limbs that fell on Sunday.
While the wind was the driving force behind the broken limbs, Cain said that there was likely something else at play. Put simply, the city’s trees – specifically, the stately elms that form the high, arcing canopy above Colusa’s streets – are reaching the end of their life cycle. As a result, many problem trees are being cut down across the city.
“My ultimate plan is to remove them and get some trees replanted,” said Cain. “Last year, we removed 24 elms. This year, so far, we’re up to 15.”
Cain added that the city has a total of 124 elm trees still standing.
“From the city’s perspective, and what I’ve been doing for the last year, we have looked at some of the trees that residents have complained about. In addition to that, any time an elm limb falls, I look at all of them myself, in addition to a tree company and (Streets and Parks Superintendent) John Balderrama. If I can see any kind of limb rot or disease, I’m cutting it down.”
More often than not, when a big limb falls, the trees is marked for removal.
“There’s only been six times or so that an elm limb has dropped, and the tree still looked healthy,” Cain said.
Although Cain said that the vast majority of residents are sad to see the elms in front of their houses go – many of which have been growing in Colusa for nearly 150 years – the fallen limbs on Sunday underscored the importance of removing the aged or dying dendrons.
“Ninety-nine percent of residents… don’t want them removed, but they have to understand that they are dangerous,” Cain said. “It’s unfortunate, but the trees have reached their life expectancy. If a tree poses a threat, even though the city really doesn’t have the money, we just take it down. It’s better than someone being killed.” ■