Palm trees, according to South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez, are the No. 1 culprit of power outages caused by vegetation in the city.
As a result, claims Gonzalez, some will be removed.
“What happens, is palm fronds are very heavy and during heavy rains and windy conditions they fall on power lines, which shorts out the circuit and we get blackouts,” explained the city manager, noting that city workers are going to focus on palm trees that are over power lines.”
While Gonzalez says he, like many, enjoy watching palm trees sway in the wind, “they create a lot of work and headaches” because they cause a large number of power outages in the city.
“Palm trees do not provide the same benefits as other native trees like oaks and others,” said Gonzalez. “Oaks and others provide a lot better canopy and shade along our city streets and parks. Not to say palm trees are not nice, but the problem is that they are very expensive to maintain and if not done regularly, they often cause a lot of power outages.”
Soon the palm trees creating havoc will be removed “and will be replaced with appropriate trees,” said Gonzalez. “It will be done systematically.”
Along with concerns about power outages, Gonzalez said palm trees are difficult to maintain. “They’re very tall and require special equipment,” he said. “I can’t stress it enough. They’re the No. one cause of power outages caused by vegetation.”
Not all palm trees will come down in town. “We’re going to work to remove only those that could cause power outages.”
Gonzalez said he couldn’t pinpoint the exact number of trees that will be removed, only saying that each one will be evaluated on a “case by case” basis.
South Pasadena Mayor Diana Mahmud said she’s heard from several residents who have expressed concern regarding the city’s proposed removal of palm trees. “Although palm trees are a symbol of southern California, they are expensive to maintain, requiring trimming and cleanup far more often than leafy canopy trees, and do not provide the same environmental benefits,” she said. “Moreover, fallen palm fronds are a leading cause of energy outages in our city. For that reason, public works is strategically targeting their removal, starting in those locations where they are unhealthy or most problematic.”
Added Mahmud, “We thank our residents for their understanding.