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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Recently, in the Ask the Experts forum, the question was raised concerning the use of signs to warn of falling cones.
Does anyone know of case in point where signage has been used against the property owner? Is cone removal considered necessary to due care (or whatever the legal term is)?
The tree and cones in question are over a lawn area with well-established paved walks around the perimeter (beyond the drop zone).
There is no current signage.
(I proposed signage for casual area users, along with restrictions from holding events in the area under the tree.)
What is the wise and reasonable thing to do? The tree is probably 90 feet or higher (Pinus sabiniana).
 
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<Scott Cullen>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 04, 2003 at 12:57:31:

Hi Mark. That's really a question you need to ask your legal department.

There is case law or doctrine about signage. It might depend on whether your are cautioning people generally, warning them away or inviting them in (creating invitees).

Due Care or a Standard of Care is defined by what is ordinary, reasonable and prudent in your locality... what other competent and reasonably prudent managers might do. Are there lots of theee cone bearing pines around. On city streets or in parks or other campuses or office complexes? Does anybody else bother to remove the cones? Or are falling pine cones simply a fact of life in this environment? What about other fruits... edible fruits, nuts, Liquidambar balls, whatever?
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on April 04, 2003 at 12:57:31:

The new Grounds Manager is seeking help from the Office of Risk Management, to see what funds may be made available for cone removal.
As it turns out, the tree contract estimator says the tree is about 140 feet tall.
There are probably a hundred cones of size. These cones do not form an abscission layer at point of attachment, so are subject to fall by force of wind, squirrel activity, or decay.
The tree is rare at this elevation and is an arboretum specimen on a State University campus. I don't know of anyone who removes cones as a routine safety precaution in the area. Normally this tree is found in the foothills between 500 and 2500 feet, I think. We are at about 300 feet?
Anew crop of cones will mature in the late part of the year, so I wonder what would be considered prudent in terms of timing of removal? I don't know if the contractor has ever done cone removal on this species before. The estimator was talking about using a high pressure wash from a 100 foot lift to knock cone off.
I suspect many will probably come off along with prunings. The tree will likely be thinned for end weight reduction at the same time. Events will begin beneath the tree within a couple of weeks, through the end of May.
 
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<Guy>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 08, 2003 at 09:36:32:

If the cones don't shed easily, the proposed high pressure wash may not get them all. With that amount of pressure, I'd wonder about bark wounding, disease, etc. Plus, wouldn't the cost of the rig exceed the extra time cost for pruning off cones?

If a reduction pruning is scheduled, why not move up the date and include cone removal, before the activities commence?
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Guy, on April 11, 2003 at 11:18:49:

Latest word is that the contractor estimated $1800 including the cost of renting a 150 foot crane to reach all the cones and pruning too, beginning next week.
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 11, 2003 at 12:31:01:

Mark,

If it is a go-ahead on this project.

Can you monitor the following:
.....including Guy's comments: Bark Loss/Damage, twig damage,

1.) Keep track of time spent in removal.
2.) Crane type and ground compaction remediation.
3.) Amount of sap flow from cone-removed locations.
4.) Visual pest monitoring for next six months.
5.) Leaf analysis prior and every two months for fungal invasion.
6.) Leaf loss due to pressure.
7.) Bark analysis, Hypoxlon, etc.

I have reason to believe the bid is to low, and complications of the prescribed procedure will result in a high expenditure from crane usage.

How much of the tree is canopied?

From the elevation, potential windborne spores, potential physical damage from this procedure - If I was the "contractor" I would be very concerned about my liability.
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Stephen Wiley, on April 11, 2003 at 22:58:31:

Because I am not the one dealing directly with the contractor, I can only get my information in sort of round-about ways. I assume that the decision to rent the higher crane was to avoid using the untried power washing technique. This contractor is a long-term contract bid winner. The University has been pleased with their previous work over the years.

The estimator stated that they would be using 1 1/4 inch plywood sheets to reduce compaction, when using their own crane/lift. I don't know yet if they will use greater protection for the larger crane.

The tree is what I would characterize as over-mature, in that it has lost some of its larger limbs in the past. It has been growing vigorously, but has become more asymmetric, as many in this species do. End weight reduction will address the leveraging of long arching scaffolds, as well as the general lean of the trunk. The tree does have a noticeably raised root area on the side away from the lean, but it has appeared stable for years, with no sign of soil cracking. No roots are raised above the soil surface.

Steven, are you directly familiar with this tree species and the problems associated with pruning it at this time of year? What is your locality?
 
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<Guy>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 11, 2003 at 12:31:01:

Latest word is that the contractor estimated $1800 including the cost of renting a 150 foot crane to reach all the cones and pruning too, beginning next week."

$1800 to prune one tree? After hearing that in CA medium-sized pines are appraised at $451k I shouldn't be surprised, but that sounds exorbitant. An experienced climber should be able to do it for half that, with no root impact from heavy machines.

Anyway, I understand you're not in charge, but please let us know how it goes.
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Guy, on April 11, 2003 at 22:58:31:

And Steven said he thought it was too low.
As I understand, the two year (?) long contract is bid, with some kind of basic agreement on pricing (?) and a required bond or insurance, and other stipulations regarding type of capabilities and qualifications (certified arborist).
The actual jobs are then estimated and paid out based upon that, I think.
I don't know how it might be determined within administration if a charge was exorbitant, nor about what other options there may be. I have no way to know directly. It is usual for administration figures to keep such decisions and information to themselves.
As for climbing the tree, I am not a climber, so I can't really say what is reasonable for someone else. But I wouldn't feel comfortable going out to the ends of all those branches for cones, and I got the impression from the estimator that he wasn't comfortable with it either.
We're not talking about a straight central leader with short, tapered side branches.
I would love to hear about the experiences of others with this kind of situation (same species, same problem).
I'll post facts as they become aparent.
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 14, 2003 at 08:37:06:

Mark,

Guy is referring to a climber alone working at that dollar amount.

My quote of too low is based upon crane rental or hourly rate to sub contract one, plus set up costs. ( $1000.00 per day). In the California area, climber day rate could easily eat up the remaining $800. Additionaly, the percentage of cones on this particular tree you have referenced, gives me the impression that their is the potential for disease influence resulting in heavy coning. The size of the canopy and amount of coning will greatly influence the adequacy of bid price.

So to clarify, (without seeing the tree) Guy and I would probably not be seperated in costs as I agree a good climber could cut these costs.
the advantage to using the crane may be to decrease climber weariness and avoidance of climbing fractured stems (If their are any).

Further, to prevent climber weariness without crane use would be to put more than one climber upon the job.
------------------
NOTE: I am still concerned however of the ramifications for performing this kind of work, as it will definately present entry for opportunistic fungi.

Has a health or structural assessment been performed on this tree?
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 12, 2003 at 02:12:54:

Mark,

The tree as you describe, is in its mature state. Has a root examination been performed for annosum? What is the degree of lean on the main stem?

I live and work in Oregon, Willamette Valley area. Yes, I have worked upon this species here in Oregon. Tho it is native to California, it is found both here in Oregon and I know of several as far north as Everett, Washington.

However, I have not worked on any in their native range. So I do not know if the information I am about to provide you will be helpful, so please allow me a little latitude.

Coning characteristics: attached to a thick peduncle (branch-like attatchment), cones can remain upon tree from 3-7 years (health), natural cone abcision often leaves scales upon tree, thus peduncle remains with normal abcision. Pruning cones will probably result in removal of the peduncle. Which is my cause for concern of unatural pruning wounds. I would refrain from pruning this time a year especially because of the potential infestation of the pitch nodule moth. Ips spp. borers and other insect(s) favorable to this species are or will soon be in flight. Additionaly, pruning this time of year under the proposed "deconing" the tree will be highly susceptible to Pine Pitch Canker either through inoculation or vectored by insects.

Further, if the tree has a pre-existing health condition - it will be producing extreme resinous flow to the cones, as it is applying energy for reproduction. Note that cone opening is usually late October, early opening of cones would indicate health and stress issues.

Does this help? Steve

__________________________________________________
Additional notes from: Silvics of North America: I conifers, Ag. Handbook 654

"Seed Production and Dissemination- Compared with other species, Digger pine is a consistent seed producer, with large crops produced at 2- to 3-year intervals. Cones may open
slowly so that dispersal, beginning in October, sometimes extends into winter. Although open, cones may contain moderate numbers of seeds as late as February (6,16,30).

The most obvious variation between Digger pine populations is in cone shape and size (7). Stands in the north Coast Ranges and Klamath Mountains tend to bear large, elongated cones,
while those in the Sierra Nevada produce cones that are smaller and ovoid. Variation within a population is great enough, however, that small or large cone races probably do not exist.
Early claims of a variety explicata (15), based on strongly-hooked cone spurs and relatively long seed wings, are not supported by more recent sampling (7). One isolated Klamath
Mountain population, however, tends to have blunt, straight spurs. Cones from the northern part of Digger pine's range tend to have lower specific gravities than those from the southern
part.

Seeds collected from sites characterized by cold winters and short growing seasons show the slowest germination rates and require longer chilling periods to achieve full germination (6,9),
presumably representing a survival advantage for a species whose seeds normally germinate during winter. Despite the ability of Digger pine to reproduce and grow on extremely infertile
soils, such as those formed from serpentinite, no strong evidence has been found that edaphic ecotypes exist within the species (8). Digger pine is resistant to interspecific breeding, and
no natural hybrids have been recognized although its range overlaps those of several species of pines. It has been successfully crossed artificially with Coulter and Torrey pines (2,7,10)"
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Stephen Wiley, on April 13, 2003 at 10:39:41:

Thanks for you thoughts and information. I already read the Silvics site info. I will relay this info to my supervisor and see if it comes to play.
What appearance would you find in a root examination for annosum? Do you lab test?
There has been no official health assessment by a qualified arborist. Can you state the main elements of such an assessment, especially for this particular species?
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Stephen Wiley, on April 13, 2003 at 10:39:41:

The degree of lean on the main stem looks about 17 degrees from vertical. Also, the soil is mounded about 10 inches higher on the side away from the lean. The root crown does not appear to have been buried any. I have heard that the nearby area was regraded, possibly in the mid-thirties, for a patio for an auditorium (about 50 feet away, and slightly up grade). A service walk/road is within about 15 feet of the tree on the high soil side. It might date from the late 60's. The tree is probably at least 80 years old. The soil is deep "clay loam". The rooting area is mostly irrigated lawn.

There are no fungal conks anywhere visible near this tree. The most common fungal conk on large trees in the area is Armillaria. The canopy spread is about 70 by 90, or a little less, oriented basically in the same direction as the trunk lean (to the west). Probably no more than 25 feet of canopy width is on the lean-away side of the tree. The largest pruning wound (approaching 2 feet diameter) is from a main scaffold that was removed (maybe 5 years ago, when it was thinned and crown-cleaned) at its branching point on the side toward the direction of lean.
 
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<Scott>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 15, 2003 at 02:33:45:

Going back over this thread I guess what bothers me is if it is not ordinarily and reasonably prudent management to remove pine cones from similarly located trees, that is if it is not part of a current reasonable standard of care in your area then are you creating a new duty which will leave you negligent for not doing it an all similar trees on a continuing basis?

And I'd want to keep a long term eye on Steven's concern that such removal may create other problems that could have a longer term impact on public safety.
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Scott, on April 15, 2003 at 11:09:48:

The work began today on cone removal. I thought it was interesting that the majority of cones so far are dry, open, empty of seeds, and of less than ripe weight, while there are a much smaller number of small, green, succulent, and immature cones. These are so tender that their scales can be knocked off with your fingers.
There are no mature, maximum weight cones at all. The cones are being sawed off with a peduncle about 1/2 inch thick and about 2 inches long. I'm not sure yet how close to the branch these are being cut.

Although I have no way to answer the question raised by Scott, the Manager of my department is going to raise it with the person heading the University's Risk Management.
There seems to be a new level of concern about the dangers posed by this tree in an area used for events. Limiting area use is not an option, apparently. I asked the tree company owner if he had done this type of job on this kind of tree in this area before. He said he hadn't. This species is now rare in the urban area, although it once occupied good soil sites at this elevation. Most trees were eliminated long ago, except in the foothills.
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 15, 2003 at 02:33:45:

Mark,

Without "seeing" the tree based upon your description, a root exam imo would be admamant. Annosum does not always present a conk (fruiting body) other detection methods would be required. Armillaria conk -did you mean mushrooms?
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 15, 2003 at 02:33:45:

Mark,

Without "seeing" the tree based upon your description, I would certainly require a root exam before proceeding. Annosum does not always present a conk (fruiting body) other detection methods would be required. Armillaria conk -did you mean mushrooms?
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 15, 2003 at 02:33:45:

"What appearance would you find in a root examination for annosum?"

Mark, the examination would entail root excavation to observe for fruiting bodies on the underside of infected roots, taking of root samples, looking for incipient staining,white pitting, black speck, culturing samples for conidiophores


"Do you lab test?"

YES

"There has been no official health assessment by a qualified arborist."

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFLUENCE THEIR NEEDS TO BE!

------------------------
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 21, 2003 at 06:18:18:

To late it sounds, this tree is becoming a combination of errors resulting in removal!!

Spent the whole day at a SOD symposium, two new northern counties in CA have been added to quarantine; Humboldt & Contra Costa. Is the tree located in these counties?

SOD transmission may be another cause for concern, as moisture is proving out to be one of the main factors (Hmmmmm........water hose cones!)

Has their been any bark damage?

Keep us informed.
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Stephen Wiley, on April 22, 2003 at 15:21:27:

The cone removal and weight reduction pruning are completed. Although most branch removals seemed sparing and in the 2 inch diameter range, there were several branches removed that were probably 6 to 10 inches. The largest was close over the top of a coastal redwood.
The company owner sais they had found longitudital stress cracks on the top of some of the larger and heavier limbs, which received the most pruning. There were some real dogleg branches too.
The cones were removed by hand and with a hand saw, no water was used.
The first day they used an $800/day crane with a two man bucket. The remote control broke, and they had to come back the next day with their 100 ft lift/crane to finish the job. The tree height was estimated at 150 feet.
They used 1 1/2 inch plywood under the truck tires.
 
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<Stephen Wiley>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 23, 2003 at 22:55:16:

Mark,

What was the final cost for operations? How many working personnel ("they")?

Could you possibly get a picture on this site of final?
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Stephen Wiley, on April 24, 2003 at 11:00:13:

I'll try to find out the final cost, and if/when I get access to a digital camera, I'll try to post an image. I don't know when that might be.
 
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<Mark Goodwin>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Goodwin, on April 24, 2003 at 21:55:53:

I was told $1,800 was the final amount. $800 for the crane rental, and $1000 for the crew (which was 3, except for occasional presence of one of the owners).
Still waiting on a digital camera; maybe in a week or so?
 
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