Tag: trees

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Where Lightning Strikes

Last night’s thunderstorms brought 524 “cloud-to-ground lightning” strikes throughout San Diego County for the “24 hours ending at 7 a.m. [PDT] today”, according to the National Weather Service. I saw evidence of one on Louisiana Street between Meade and Monroe, not far from where live Angelo and Huck—both of which were profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series. According to the closest-living neighbor, the strike, which sent portion of a palm tree to blaze, occurred around 8 p.m. Not long later, fire crews extinguished the flames.

The Featured Image is the unbecoming first photo from iPhone 13 Pro, which arrived from Apple on Sept. 24, 2021. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 25, 1/2597 sec, 77mm; 10:24 a.m., today. Scaring and some charing is visible below the frond top. The device’s telephoto lens proved its worth.

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The Palm Falls

My day started with resolve not to document destruction of the majestic palm infested with South American Palm Weevils—across the street from my home office window. But my wife and I watched the preparation stage, which was the city towing a pickup truck, baring Washington State plates, parked directly beneath the block’s major wildlife habitat.

Soon after, we heard the surprising sound of a chainsaw but could see no lift raised high so that a cutter could sever fronds from the palm’s crown. From a different window, Annie spotted someone working the base of the tree and a rope tied to the top. Then we realized: Rather than the more typical cut-from-the-top-down method, the men approached the project like lumberjacks would back home in Maine.

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A Tree’s Reprieve

The majestic palm infested with South American Palm Weevils did not come down today as planned. Tree cutters arrived around 7 a.m. PDT—four vehicles, which included lift and shredder. But the workers met an obstacle—a lone car curbed below the palm and smack beneath the sign warning: “No Parking, Tree Removal, 7-19-21, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.” Two hours later, with no one come to move the auto and tow-truck unavailable, the frustrated tree-cutter chief abandoned the project for another. He told me that his crew couldn’t return any sooner than Wednesday (July 21), because of other commitments.

When departing, he removed the signs, which is why you don’t see any in the Featured Image taken at 11:10 a.m., using iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/2257 sec, 26mm (film equivalent). When I returned from a walk, about 12:30 p.m., someone had placed new “No Parking” signs for the 22nd.

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A Beloved Tree’s Last Day

One of our apartment’s main benefits: Abundance of urban wildlife visible from expansive windows. Directly across the street from my home office is a magnificent palm tree that is the block’s primary animal habitat. Dozens of birds, of various ilks, fly up into crevices throughout daylight hours all year long. Remember: San Diego is a climate of three Summer seasons: Early, Mid, and Late. Squirrels scurry up the trunk, chasing one another. Who knows what else lives there? Tomorrow, the city plans to remove the tree. I understand the reason but hate it.

According to University California San Diego, invasive, deadly South American Palm Weevils were “first detected in March 2016″—that’s locally. But agricultural experts identified the beetles’ encroachment along the Mexican border five years earlier. The insects essentially infest the heart of the palm crown, destroying it. The bad news from arborists Coastal Tree Care: “When left undetected, this damage is irreversible and will leave you with no choice but to remove your palm trees”. Judging from the topless trees I see in some of the canyons, and the speed with which the weevils appear to spread, infected trees must be destroyed as soon as they show symptoms. A month ago, the palm across the street looked normally healthy. No longer.