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Ripon switching out sycamore trees with Chinese pistache
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The Chinese pistache is a fast-growing tree with feathery leaves that turn a brilliant red and orange in the fall.

Director of Public Works Ted Johnston provided that description of the tree that will soon replace the sycamores along South Jack Tone Road at Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting.

Elected leaders voted 3-2 on the removal of the sycamores – neighbors on this stretch along Jack Tone Road between Main Street and Doak Boulevard on the Jack Tone bike path complained about the mess produced by these trees – and the re-planting of 70 pistache trees along that same tree line at an estimated cost of $60,000.

Mayor Leo Zuber, who along with his colleague Jake Parks provided the ‘no’ votes, was concerned about the size of the trees for planting coupled with the dropping of leaves.

“The smaller trees will grow much faster and will adapt to their environment,” Johnston said. “The bigger trees will cost more (than $600 each).”

The Chinese pistache (Keith Davey variety) can grow up to 35 feet tall and 30 feet wide and came at the recommendation of staff.

“We have planted these trees in other areas of the City and have been extremely happy with them,” Johnston added.

Sycamore trees can also be founded in different areas of Ripon. 

According to Johnston’s report, these trees “produce seed pods — during the early spring and fall the seed pods become dry and open, releasing small seeds that typically last for two weeks.

The other option was applying a fruit eliminator come next spring to reduce or eliminate the seed pods with no guarantee of effectiveness.

The estimated cost of that would’ve been $9,100.

The sycamore trees along this stretch of Jack Tone Road left a debris consisting of these spiky seed pods which were nuisance and safety hazard to many of the residents.

Johnston added that some of the trees around town are maintained by the City while others are not.

“The City does not have a policy in place describing how to determine when a street tree that is maintained (by the City) is to be removed when a request is received,” he said.

Council agreed to develop such a policy and bring it back to a future meeting for discussion.