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A Tree Falls and a View Opens

When it rains a lot, any tree not firmly rooted or slightly tipsy from disease, will fall. This week, I looked out the window to see a view opening where there previously was none. A fir tree had fallen, and one that had most likely lived out its life. While I mourn its loss, I celebrate the view to Mt. Umunhum that is opening. As you can see, there are several dead trees. Two of them were previously topped. I'm not sure how that happened. It was either the previous owner or the PGE crew who thought the trees were tall enough to topple onto the high power lines. Although, I don't think the power lines are close enough to concern them.

When the spring dries up the earth so that the ground can stay firm under the weight of a chipper and truck, I'll have our local tree experts clean up the fallen tree and the dead trees that are still standing. For now, you'll have to imagine the what the view will be like. The mist you see hangs over Lexington Reservoir. The tallest peak, Mt.Umunhum, hosts an old IBM building and a cell tower which are easy to see by eye, but not visible in this photo. The sun rises behind those mountains, deviating left and right depending on the time of year. After the cleanup, I should have a view from the cabin porch. I'll think of our fallen comrade tree each time I appreciate the view it left.

It is sad when a tree falls. Like people, they have life spans. Our property has many trees. Live oaks have the longest life —up to 300 years. Pacific madrone trees are next, a lifespan of 250 years is typical. Fir trees, at least the kind on our property, are about 50 to 60 years. The huge Douglas fir trees common in a lot of California parks can live up to 300 or more years, but I think we have shorter lived firs.

We've had a few oaks die from sudden oak death. That disease is carried from infected bay trees and by using infected pruning tools. We've had infected bay trees removed to prevent the spread. But one tree died suddenly after the Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) pruning crew pruned it. They were instructed to first clean their tools with bleach, but from the suddenness of the death, I don't believe they did.

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