Aleppo pine tree topples over at Lewis Park

A 30-foot mature pine tree came toppling down at Lewis Park this week, startling neighbors and rattling some nerves but causing no significant damage or injuries.

“I was in the front yard gardening when I heard a loud cracking and swoosh. Thinking it was a tree branch, I was amazed to see a whole pine tree ripped off at its root level and lying on its side,” resident Gerald Collier said.

The Aleppo Pine on the north end of the park fell the evening of Saturday, August 6 as a result of “a girdled root system,” according to Claremont Community Services Manager Kristin Mikula.

The pine was likely original to Lewis Park, which opened in 1966 at 881 Syracuse Drive.

“When trees come from nurseries they are sometimes root-bound from growing in pots,” Ms. Mikula explained. “The roots can become bound and don’t spread out sufficiently.”

While the sight of a mature pine suddenly rendered firewood is one no Claremonter wants to see, the event was apparently an isolated incident at Lewis Park, according to the city.

“This type of downed tree is rare,” Ms. Mikula said. “We did inspect all our trees [at Lewis Park], and didn’t see problems with any of the others at this point.”

Claremont police responded to investigate the scene and to make sure nobody was trapped by the tree. A Claremont park ranger also inspected the tree on Sunday, which was cut up and hauled away by West Coast Arborist on Monday.

—Mick Rhodes and Steven Felschundneff



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