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Ripon residents voice concerns over Sycamore trees
ripon trees
The Sycamore trees along South Jack Tone Road between West Main Street and Doak Boulevard have been nuisance and safety hazard for those living along this stretch consisting of a bike path.

RIPON — The tree line appearance of Sycamores along South Jack Tone Road between West Main Street and Doak Boulevard provides a nice streetscape for those passing through or using the bike path.

But for neighbors, the Sycamore trees have been more of a nuisance.

At Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting, residents of this area voiced their concerns on these trees, from the hazards of the spikey seed pods to children and family pets to the constant cleaning up of debris.

“It’s been horrible every year,” said Jerry Donahue, who circulated a petition from his neighbor requesting for the City of Ripon to remove 35 Sycamore trees — the area has 70 such trees including 35 north of Main Street on Jack Tone Road.

His neighbor, Joe Segura, said that the hazardous tree pods have been “a big deal” for his four children when it comes to playing outside.

According to Director of Public Works Ted Johnston, the cost of removable of the trees and replacing them with a different variety would cost, based on an estimate from arborist – Grover Landscape Services examined the trees and provided recommendations to resolve or minimize this issue – would be about $5,600 and could take eight to 10 years to grow out to the size of the current trees.

Another recommendation from the arborist calls for a spray treatment product used for fruit elimination to help eliminate the seed pods on all 70 trees to be conducted next spring at an estimated cost of $9,100.

Elected leaders also looked at a third option, which required continuing monitoring of this issue, checking if the current problem persists to same degree come next year.

The arborist, Johnston said, reported that the likely cause for the greater amount of debris was because of last year’s dried seed pods were knocked off the trees due to than the higher than typical winds in April.

Councilman Michael Restuccia shared the concerns of the neighborhood group but wanted to research as to what trees to plant in place of the Sycamores, which were initially planted by the City in 2007 to match the canopy of the existing trees lining other streets such as Palm and Orange avenues.

“I don’t want to remove the trees without a plan,” said Mayor Leo Zuber. “Every tree has good things and bad things – I want to know (about both) and find the best solution.”

Council will continue looking into this matter.

“I’d rather spend more time and do it right,” Zuber added.