Hundreds of palm trees are being removed from canyons in the Tierrasanta neighborhood this week as the result of a project between the city of San Diego and local conservancy groups.
Palm trees are not native to San Diego’s urban canyons but seeds from the trees move by a stream and spread into the canyons. The palm trees take over space from the native trees that should be there like Coast Live Oak, Willow and Sycamore trees.
“When a palm tree catches on fire, it’s like a Roman candle,” said Eric Bowlby, Executive Director of San Diego Canyonlands.
So beginning at 8 a.m. every day this week, crews will remove approximately 300 mature palm trees that have grown in the urban canyons. Cutting the trees began around Dec. 10 and this week a helicopter will lift the trees from the canyons and deliver them to the Sycamore Landfill.
In the meantime, public access to Rueda Canyon Open Space Park will be restricted.
Bowlby said removing the trees that are not well maintained is a matter of safety.
“All the dead palm fronds from bottom to top,” he said. “A big bonnet of dead palm fronds. That’s a huge load of fuel if there should ever be a fire in the canyon.”
The cost of the project was estimated at $220,000.
The non-profit organization was awarded a grant from California Prop 1 funds to remove the invasive plants and restore the native vegetation in this section of the San Diego River watershed," Bowlby said.
The project should be complete by Jan. 11.