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San Luis Obispo cuts down trees at Laguna Lake Park, volunteers - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

San Luis Obispo cuts down trees at Laguna Lake Park, volunteers put remaining wood chips to good use

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 If you've been to Laguna Lake recently, you may have noticed some trees there have been cut down.

Anthony Whipple, an Urban Forester with the City of San Luis Obispo, said the trees were chopped down because they were dying.

He said the tree deaths were mainly caused by the drought, and a fungus called Pitch Canker was also infecting them.

The Pitch Canker fungus is spread from tree-to-tree, mainly by beetles. Whipple said without an adequate water supply, the trees are defenseless to the fungus.

"Obviously, water is the key factor," Whipple said. "When the trees get stressed out, they become weak and that's when the Fusarium Pitch Canker comes in there and effects the trees."

The city removed about 60 trees in total. They logged and chipped them, after cutting them down. The process also killed most of the beetles in the trees.

They plan to keep the chips on site at Laguna Lake Park, so there's no chance of infecting other areas with the Pitch Canker fungus. Whipple also said the chips help retain moisture in the ground.

The Grizzly Youth Academy and the Rotary Club teamed up to put those wood chips to good use on Sunday. They used them to plant new trees in the nearby tree garden.

That area contains 330 memorial trees for people in the community. The volunteers were replacing about 15 of the trees that have died there.

Before the tree garden was started in the 1980's, that area of the Laguna Lake Park was barren.

"Probably the most important thing about the trees, it provides oxygen which is kind of an important component of life," Rotary Club Projector Coordinator Michael Alamo said. "That and it adds a habitat for birds and it makes it a wonderful place for the park, so it's been a great addition to the community with really no initial capital funds provided by the government."

The volunteers have ordered more trees to replace the remaining 10 that have died in the garden.
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