NEWS - West Coast Arborists Inc.

Save Our Water And Our Trees! Campaign Offers Tips to Help Trees Thrive

image003Sacramento, CA – West Coast Arborists has partnered with California ReLeaf, Save Our Water, and a coalition of urban forest and other concerned organizations to raise awareness on the importance of proper tree care during this historic drought. Save Our Water is California’s official statewide conservation education program. California ReLeaf is a statewide urban forest nonprofit providing support and services to over 90 community nonprofits that plant and care for trees.

With potentially millions of urban trees at risk, this campaign focuses on a simple yet urgent message: Save Our Water and Our Trees! The Save Our Water and Our Trees partnership is highlighting tips for both residents and agencies on how to water and care for trees so that they not only survive the drought, but thrive to provide shade, beauty and habitat, clean the air and water, and make our cities and towns healthier and more livable for decades to come.

“While Californians cut back on water use during the drought, it is critical to community health to save our lawn trees by setting up alternative watering systems once you turn off the regular sprinklers,” said Cindy Blain, Executive Director of California ReLeaf.

Lawn trees can and must be saved during the drought. What you can do:

1.     Deeply and slowly water mature trees 1 – 2 times per month with a simple soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy – NOT at the base of the tree. Use a Hose Faucet Timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering.

2.     Young trees need 5 gallons of water 2 – 4 times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.

3.     Shower with a bucket and use that water for your trees long as it is free of
non-biodegradable soaps or shampoos.

4.     Do not over-prune trees during drought. Too much pruning and drought both stress your trees.

5.     Mulch, Mulch, MULCH! 4 – 6 inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs and protecting your trees.

Trees in irrigated landscapes become dependent on regular watering and when watering is reduced – and especially when it’s stopped completely – trees will die. Tree loss is a very costly problem: not only in expensive tree removal, but in the loss of all the benefits trees provide: cooling and cleaning the air and water, shading homes, walkways and recreation areas as well as human health impacts.

“This summer it is vital that Californians limit outdoor water use while preserving trees and other important landscaping,” said Jennifer Persike, Deputy Executive Director of External Affairs and Operations, Association of California Water Agencies. “Save Our Water is urging Californians to Let It Go – GOLD this summer, but don’t forget to keep your trees healthy.”

Save Our Water has been urging Californians to “Let It Go” this summer by limiting outdoor water use and letting lawns fade to gold, while preserving precious water resources for trees and other important landscapes.

Save Our Water’s website is available in both English and Spanish and is filled with tips, tools, and inspiration to help every Californian find new and creative ways to conserve. From tips on how to keep trees healthy during the drought to an interactive section allowing users to visually explore how they can save water both inside and outside the home, Save Our Water has a wealth of resources available for Californians.

 

Artwork Emerges in Redwood Stump Carving at the Civic Center

Menlo Park

Originally posted here on June 13, 2015 at 11:16 pm by Clay Curtin

A large coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) tree in front of the Civic Center on Laurel Street was recently removed. The tree had a common disorder known as redwood canker, caused by the Botryospaeria pathogen. The coastal fog belt, which the coast redwood is endemic to, is an environment characterized by moderate summer temperatures and reliable fog, ample rainfall and well drained soils. Menlo Park is on the outside edge of the coastal fog belt where summer temperatures are high and soils tend to be predominantly poorly drained. The severity of the drought and growing outside the fog belt can lead to a higher occurrence of redwood canker in the city’s canopy. The tree at the Civic Center was replaced by three drought tolerant specimens. Instead of removing the stump, it was transformed into a piece of artwork by chain saw artist John Mahoney, who carved the city logo into it. Mr. Mahoney’s work can also be seen in a popular carving created last fall in Fremont Park. A time-lapse video of the redwood carving can be viewed here:

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La Cañada welcomes new resident to ‘Tree City USA’

tree planting
The city of La Cañada Flintridge celebrated Arbor Day by panting trees in front of the city's skate park on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. City officials including mayor David A. Spence, right, helped plant the Carrotwood tree. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / May 5, 2015)

The city of La Cañada Flintridge celebrated Arbor Day by panting trees in front of the city’s skate park on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. City officials including mayor David A. Spence, right, helped plant the Carrotwood tree.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / May 5, 2015)

In keeping with a tradition befitting an official “Tree City USA,” Mayor Dave Spence and other officials planted a tree Tuesday in a ceremony recognizing May 5 as Arbor Day in the city of La Cañada Flintridge.

The young carrotwood tree was one of three being planted that day near the city’s skate park on Cornishon Avenue as a symbol of a larger effort to encourage the planting and care of trees. A sturdy Australian native species, Cupaniopsis anacardioides was selected because the city’s map indicates Cornishon is where carrotwoods belong, said Gonzalo Venegas, the city’s facilities and maintenance superintendent.

As proof, Venegas pointed out the surrounding carrotwoods lining both sides of the street. About 10 years old now, they were also planted for the celebration, he said. Arbor Day was celebrated nationally on April 24.

For every tree planted in the annual gesture, the city plants hundreds more as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Tree City USA” program, of which La Cañada has been a part for 27 years. In that time, a total of 21,500 trees have been planted locally, according to Evan Conklin, deputy forester for the Los Angeles County Forestry Division, who attended the event.

After reading a resolution recognizing the occasion, Spence joined City Manager Mark Alexander, Public Works Director Edward Hitti and other city staff in the ceremonial planting of the tree.

“It’s always a pleasure to plan and dedicate a tree in the benefit of the city and celebrating Arbor Day,” Spence remarked. “I urge all citizens to plan trees to gladden the hearts and preserve the well-being of present and future generations.”

City of Menlo Park – Chainsaw Carving Complete

City of Menlo Park

Chainsaw Carving Completed in Fremont Park

Original article by Clay Curtin – posted here – 

JOhn Mahoney Carving

Last month the Italian stone pine in Fremont Park was removed because it posed an imminent hazard due to root failure and a severe lean that gave the tree much of its unique character. Recently, the stump and two large pieces of the tree were repurposed by chainsaw artist, John Mahoney and the City’s tree crew leader, Juan Perez. Check out the time-lapse video below!

Over the next two weeks, the wood will be treated and sealed to reduce cracking as the wood dries out. Three new deodar cedar trees will be planted along the fence, to the east of the artwork. City staff is also working with the Menlo Park Historical Association to mark the rings on a cross section of the trunk to signify interesting dates in the City’s past.

Winds knock out power, stoke small brush fires near toll roads

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4/30/14

Originally Posted Here in the Orange County Register.

Tree limbs and debris land on power lines, causing outages. Firefighters worked on blazes near 241 and 261 toll roads.

Orange County will remain under a red-flag fire warning through Thursday night as the area continues to be hammered by high winds, hot temperatures and dry conditions.

The warning means the county is ripe for brush fires, although no fires were reported Wednesday morning.

There were reports of scattered wind damage Wednesday throughout Orange County and at least one small brush fire.

The brush fire was reported at 12:35 p.m. near the Irvine Boulevard exit from the 261 toll road in Irvine, California High Patrol Officer John Latosquin said.

The fire is about 50 feet by 50 feet, and started out in a mulch pile on the east side of the toll road, said Capt. Shane Sherwood of the Orange County Fire Authority. No structures were threatened and the cause hadn’t been determined, he said.

The CHP shut down the northbound Irvine Boulevard exit from the 261 toll road just before 1 p.m. because of the fire. The closure was expected to remain in effect for 30 minutes.

TREE DAMAGES APARTMENTS

Also Wednesday, a 50-foot-tall pine tree fell through the roof of an apartment in the 13000 block of Allard Avenue in Garden Grove about 10:45 a.m.

No one was injured, but the fallen tree caused substantial damage to the unit on the upper floor of the building, according to the Garden Grove Fire Department. Neighboring apartments were temporarily evacuated, and a city building inspector was en route to assess the structure.

“Fortunately, there was no one inside the second-floor apartment (under the tree),” Garden Grove Fire Department Capt. Tony Acosta said.

Acosta’s crew evacuated the floor of the apartment building where the tree fell.

Acosta said he was glad that there were no power lines involved because that would have posed another danger.

A crew with Anaheim-based West Coast Arborists working a few blocks away moved its boom trucks to the site and started cutting the tree from the building with chainsaws.

Acosta said a building inspector for the city of Garden Grove would check the structure for safety once the tree was removed.

Anaheim police also closed South Lewis Street between East Ball Road and Cerritos Ave. about 8 a.m. Wednesday because of a leaning power pole likely damaged by wind.

No one was injured, but the fallen tree caused substantial damage to the unit on the upper floor of the building, according to the Garden Grove Fire Department. Neighboring apartments were temporarily evacuated, and a city building inspector was en route to assess the structure.

“Fortunately, there was no one inside the second-floor apartment (under the tree),” Garden Grove Fire Department Capt. Tony Acosta said.

Acosta’s crew evacuated the floor of the apartment building where the tree fell.

Acosta said he was glad that there were no power lines involved because that would have posed another danger.

A crew with Anaheim-based West Coast Arborists working a few blocks away moved its boom trucks to the site and started cutting the tree from the building with chainsaws.

Acosta said a building inspector for the city of Garden Grove would check the structure for safety once the tree was removed.

Anaheim police also closed South Lewis Street between East Ball Road and Cerritos Ave. about 8 a.m. Wednesday because of a leaning power pole likely damaged by wind.

Orange County sheriff’s deputies also responded to scattered reports of downed power lines and burglar alarms set off by wind.

Two power poles were snapped by high winds at the intersection of Tustin Street and Meats Avenue in Orange about 9:50 a.m., prompting police to direct traffic, Lt. Eric Rosauer said.

RIDES CLOSED

Knott’s Berry Farm remained open Wednesday, but three rides were closed because of the winds. They are Surfside Gliders, Woodstock’s Airmail and Sky Cabin. Visitors can call the guest relations phone number to find out any ride-closure updates: 714-220-5200.

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure opened as normal at 10 a.m. Wednesday. One ride, Golden Zephyr at Disney California Adventure, was closed because of the winds, said Kevin Rafferty Jr., a Disneyland Resort spokesman.

As a red-flag precaution, the Orange County Fire Authority is staffing a water tender, one bulldozer and a 22-person hand crew, officials said.

“It’s just a matter of time before a fire starts and gets well established,” said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Fire Authority. “That’s fire weather.”

Firefighters were working alongside the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and other volunteers to patrol wildland areas looking for any signs of a brush fire, he said.

Officials are also asking anyone who spots suspicious activity in wildland areas to call 911.

SECOND DAY OF WINDS

Wednesday was the second day of punishing winds in Orange County. On Tuesday, high winds downed power lines and trees and closed streets.

Trees caught fire Tuesday morning in Placentia after winds knocked down power lines, said Concialdi. The fires threatened six homes before firefighters knocked them down within minutes, he said.

Later in the afternoon, a car fire ignited thick vegetation on the side of the northbound 405 near Jamboree Road in Irvine, temporarily shutting down several freeway lanes. A tree that toppled in the wind in Santa Ana blocked West Edinger Street on Tuesday afternoon, causing heavy traffic there as well.

Strong Santa Ana winds will continue Wednesday with gusts ranging from 40 to 60 mph over foothills and valleys, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts of 90 mph are also possible in some wind-prone foothills and valleys. A brief lull in the winds is forecast for Wednesday evening, followed by another strong wind surge that will continue through Thursday.

Winds will diminish Thursday night and into Friday, but humidity will remain low inland.

The spate of dry, hot weather means that April will end with some of the highest temperatures near the coast since 2012, said the Weather Service.

RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES

Newport Beach reached 92 on Tuesday, shattering the record high of 86 set on April 29, 1921. It was 95 Tuesday in Laguna Beach, beating a record of 92 in 1981.

The highs today will reach 94 near the coast and will range from 96 to 101 inland.

Thursday will be sunny with highs around 90 near the coast to 97 inland.

Staff writers Sarah Tully, Claudia Koerner and Bruce Chambers contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3795 or sschwebke@ocregister.com or Twitter: @thechalkoutline

Bear sculpture taking shape at O’side park

By Edward Sifuentes –  Originally posted here. on APRIL 9, 2014

Union Tribune

 

John Bear Mahoney

Edward Sifuentes

A dying tree is roaring back to life as a bear sculpture at Buddy Todd Park in Oceanside this week.

The 50-foot pine tree was infested with bark beetle and was in an awkward spot. It required frequent pruning so its branches didn’t interfere with San Diego Gas & Electric power lines near the park’s entrance on Mesa Drive.

Joel Menard, the city’s parks supervisor, said he approached John Mahoney — a chainsaw artist whose family owns West Coast Arborists — about doing something with the tree.

“I thought it’s a good, fat tree, might as well make into a bear,” Menard said Wednesday morning.

Mahoney began working on the sculpture last week, removing branches and trimming away growth to leave a towering stump.

On Wednesday morning, he filled about four different chainsaws with gas before climbing on a cherry picker to continue shaping the bear.

Mahoney — a 6-foot, 4-inch, 300-pound man with a long beard — jokingly called the half-finished sculpture a “self portrait” and said he was happy that he was asked to do it.

“It’s awesome, I’m stoked and honored,” Mahoney said. “It’s the biggest one yet for me.”

The sculpture stands about 15 feet tall and depicts a bear standing on his hind legs looking up at the sky.

West Coast Arborists contracts with the city for tree maintenance and its workers were trimming palm trees at the park this week.

Menard said the company is environmentally conscious and tries to reuse wood and trees that are cut down. The sculpture was part of its service and won’t cost the city any extra money.

He said the inspiration for the bear came from a previous sculpture that was at the park. A city employee carved that bear out of a dead tree years ago.

The bear was popular with the public, especially children, Menard said. But it had to be removed about five years ago to make way for a parking lot.

Return of rain sparks preps, bets on Northern California weather

 

Originally posted here on Feb 26th

By 

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —From chainsaws to sewer pumps to tractors, the sounds of preparing for rain could be heard around the Valley on Wednesday.

 

“We are so thankful for the rain,” said Mary Jane Wittman as she walked her dog at Sacramento’s McKinley Park. “We need it.”

 

Even as raindrops began falling, a tree crew with West Coast Arborists chopped and sawed off loose and potentially problematic tree limbs along a nine-block stretch of 12th Street.

 

“When we get some severe weather or anything, we get out all the broken branches, any of (that) stuff that might fall on vehicles or pedestrians,” said Sean Sullivan, of West Coast Arborists.

 

Elsewhere, Sacramento city crews continued the routine maintenance of clearing storm and sewer drains — that maintenance made all the more important because of the expected heavy rains.

 

“It’s very, very important because we want everything flowing like it’s supposed to,” said James Wacker, a city of Sacramento employee.

 

Meanwhile, West Sacramento farmer, Dave Vierra did something he’s never done this early in the year. He planted sweet corn before the arrival of rain.

 

On the one hand, he said he needed to get into his field now before the rain, because if heavy rains muddied his field, he would have to wait up to three weeks or longer after the showers to plant his crop.

 

On the other hand, there’s a risk involved to such an early crop of sweet corn.

 

“It could still freeze if the weather turns,” Vierra said.

 

But if his bet pays off, he said he’ll be able to supply something far earlier than ever before.

 

“Sweet corn by Father’s Day,” Vierra said.

Highway 150/Saticoy Street median is well done by beautification effort

News

By Peggy Kelly

Originally posted in the Santa Paula Times

Feb 26th, 2014

Santa Paula chapter of America in Bloom planted the strawberry tree, a specimen in the family Ericaceae native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland.West Coast Arborists donated the planted the tree, and can grow as high as 30-feet. Employees of West Coast Arborists plant the tree.

Santa Paula chapter of America in Bloom planted the strawberry tree, a specimen in the family Ericaceae native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland.West Coast Arborists donated the planted the tree, and can grow as high as 30-feet. Employees of West Coast Arborists plant the tree.

It’s real name might be arbutus unedo, more commonly known as a strawberry tree but whatever the moniker it sure is going to brighten up the small median at Highway 150/Santa Paula-Ojai Road and Saticoy Street.

Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez said the Santa Paula chapter of America in Bloom planted the strawberry tree, a specimen in the family Ericaceae native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland.

Whatever it is,Yanez said,“It’s planted right there at Barbara We b s t e r S c h o o l ,” d r e s s i n g u p w h a t for years had been a messy small area mostly bushes that at times looked like weeds.

The tree is only the first step: “America in Bloom is planning to put in some drought tolerant plans and a creek bed,” in the median highly visible by passing motorists.

Yanez noted the project is a joint effort:“Our part was to clear it,” by ripping out all that grew in the median and getting the earth ready for the landscaping to come.

West Coast Arborists donated the planted the tree, which Yanez said can grow as high as 30-feet but not be overwhelming.

“It’s kind of like a lollypop tree ,” used extensively by Caltrans for highway beautification

“Some strawberry trees are planted when you get off at Victoria Avenue inVentura,” said Yanez.

“This is what America in Bloom wanted so I just go with the flow,” and more readily when it’s low-flow as in saving water.

Such thinking will also be applied when the city embarks on the 10th Street Beautification Project, which is facing a June design deadline.

The city received a $600,000-plus Caltrans grant for the project that will range from under the Highway 126 underpass -where a mural is planned to welcome commuters-and continue north to Santa Paula Street.

Project enhancements include a mural for the Highway 126 underpass for a defined entryway to the city, street lighting, landscaping improvements for 10th Street facing areas of the Santa Paula Police station, City Hall, and Veterans Park, the latter which will include a bike rack and seating for cyclists. Sidewalk repair, trees, landscaping of museums and other improvements will transform the corridor into a work of art for residents and visitors alike.

Administered by the VenturaCountyTransportation Commission the project will also include crossing safety improvements, encourage safe pedestrian mobility and layout a bicycle path that will connect with the city’s famed recreational trail and further up through one of the city’s most historic residential areas.

“Our goal is to connect it to our Class One bike trail at Railroad Plaza and the Santa Paula bike lane,” said Yanez.

The city continues to work in partnership with America In Bloom on the proposed project.

Yanez said he is pleased that about five companies are bidding on the landscape design project.

Arbor Day Celebration in Oceanside, CA

Union Tribune

9/25/13

Originally posted here in U-T San Diego 01:18p.m. Sep 20, 2013
Oceanside — The A’s had it in Oceanside last week.First there was Arbor Day, where students from a local high school and college planted trees in Buddy Todd Park, and then there was the Airport, where 150-some land vehicles shared the tarmac with planes of all kinds at the annual Summer Fly-In/Car show.The city sponsored the Arbor Day ceremony and environmental resource fair Thursday at the 19-acre park, Oceanside’s oldest.For the resource-fair part of the activities, those setting up information booths included the MiraCosta College Horticulture Department, West Coast Arborists, Davey Resource Group, Western Environmental Consultants (working for San Diego Gas & Electric), Cal Fire, San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council and Agri Services.Many of them had free stuff to give away — such as toothpick holders, magnets, mulch or little containers of plastic bags to pick up dog doo.“Whoever knew there could be so many kinds of mulch?” commented one visitor as he surveyed a display by Agri Service, which runs an operation on city El Corazon land turning green waste into compost.

A poster proclaimed “San Diego County has 6,687 farms — more than any other county in the United States.”

Eileen Turk, parks and recreation division manager for the city, noted that the public voted to name two trees — the coastal oak and the golden medallion — official trees of the city.

Lynette Short from Cal Fire presented Oceanside with a Tree City USA award for the sixth consecutive year and told how Julius Sterling Morton started Arbor Day in the Nebraska Territory in 1872. Officially, the date falls in April, but it can be celebrated any time there are trees for planting.

Mayor Jim Wood told the students that later on, when they lie under a tree at the park, they can remember that they planted it.

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Also at the event, John Mahoney demonstrated chain-saw wood carving with an array of sculptures ranging from fishes and owls to totems. He noted they were being saved from the landfill.

After instructions from city parks workers, students from Ocean Shores High School and MiraCosta College planted 11 trees — crepe myrtle and redbud.

The fly-in, car show at the airport replaced an annual barbecue that didn’t bring out a lot of people, according to Gordon Nesbitt, president of the sponsoring Oceanside Airport Association, a booster group.

Saturday, it was a different story.

“Actually we had 147 registered show cars (and perhaps a dozen that slipped in without registering/paying),” Nesbitt said. “We estimated attendance at around 1,400 visitors.

“All proceeds are going toward the Jack Cassan Memorial Flight Scholarship for local high school students,” Nesbitt said.

Every type of vehicle was displayed.

Hot rods and vintage cars vied for attention with flatbed trucks and fancy Ferraris. One license plate declared a 1932 Ford roadster “Fun 4 Pop.”

Some had rumble seats, and many sported neon colors such as “furious fuchsia.”

A Ford De Tomaso Pantera displayed a sign declaring it had “the body of a sexy Italian exotic with the heart of an American muscle car.”

One car towed a teardrop camping trailer, a vintage vehicle in itself.

REACH, the new medical helicopter service contracting with the city, was on display, and all the while, a calliope aboard an old carpenter’s tow truck played, Tsunami Skydivers demonstrated their skills, biplanes and sleek one-seaters took off from the runway, and radio-controlled jets zoomed overhead.

“It’s one of the nicer shows because of the aerial (component),” said Julie Walker as her husband, Jeff, watched the model planes, and she stayed with their 1968 Plymouth GTX classic muscle car on display.

The air show — and the prizes — set this event apart, Walker said, noting that plaques for winning vehicles in various categories carried aeronautical names such as “Most likely to plow an airfield” and had the likes of spark plugs or airplane instruments attached.

Lola Sherman is a freelance writer. Contact her at lola@ seaside-media-services.com

Transforming Trees to Treasures in Laguna Niguel

8/31/13

PHOTO CREDIT – JEBB HARRIS, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

By LUKE RAMSETH / ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE IN THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Mark Ranauro planted five sequoia tree saplings in his narrow Laguna Niguel backyard in 1987. It was the year he moved into the house and the same year his son Kyle was born.
Decades later, they’ve grown from just above eye level to more than 50 feet tall, massive shade-providers that loom over his two-story suburban home just off Niguel Road. Ranauro’s backyard feels more Pacific Northwest than Orange County. One sequoia tops out at 65 feet, he said.

“They are like our kids,” Ranauro said of the trees. “It really hurt when we had to cut the first one down.”
When he called an arborist to have a second tree removed earlier this summer – a few dead branches threatened his neighbor’s property – he had a decision to make: He could have the arborist haul it away, or he could keep it. Build something with it.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this is an amazing tree,’” Ranauro said. “Wouldn’t it be cool to make it into a piece of furniture?”’
He held onto the most valuable part – a 10-foot, 1,500-pound trunk section now cut up into a stack of 45 boards drying in his garage. He has plans to build a dining room table.
With his project, Ranauro joined a growing push to recycle downed urban trees in Orange County – diverting wood waste from the mulcher or landfill.
Several businesses and organizations including Anaheim-based West Coast Arborists, Woodhill Firewood in Irvine and the Orange County Woodworkers Association have latched onto the trend.
“I’d like to promote it,” Ranauro said. “There’s not as many as up in NorCal, but you’ve still got a lot of great trees down here.”

CHOPPING IT UP

Some of the prettiest wood found in Orange County comes from trees like American elm, magnolia, red gum eucalyptus and black walnut, said John Dominguez, who heads up a year-old partnership between Woodhill Firewood and West Coast Arborists.
Dominguez is happy to do smaller jobs, like cutting Ranauro’s sequoia trunk into boards, but the focus of his Irvine operation is decidedly large scale.
West Coast Arborists contracts with 250 cities, including several Orange County municipalities. Some 600 tons of wood waste is processed daily at Woodhill Firewood off Bake Parkway.
Some branches are mulched; some turned into firewood. There’s even a resident chainsaw artist, John Mahoney, who operates on one corner of the Woodhill lot.
But often the more desirable pieces – the thick tree trunks like Ranauro’s – are placed in a wood kiln for drying, and later built into items like picnic benches, Dominguez said. Sometimes they’re even sold back to cities where the trees originally came from.

NOTHING NEW

The idea to turn downed urban trees into lumber or artwork isn’t new.
“Woodworkers have always used scrap. They’ve always used what they can for free,” said James Santhon, president of the 230-member Orange County Woodworkers Association.
Dominguez said for a time the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection even had a program where it lent sawmills and wood kilns to anyone who wanted to try milling.
“They wanted municipalities and companies to draw up proposals to divert wood waste from landfills,” he said.
Only more recently, however, has the urban wood recycling program taken off. Woodhill Firewood’s kiln and woodshop are humming – Dominguez recently sold eight picnic tables to the city of Santa Monica, and several outdoor benches made of recycled wood are soon headed to Petaluma, in Northern California.

LONG PROCESS

Plenty of furniture makers and hobbyists call up Dominguez to have a log cut or buy wood for a project, and he hopes to make connections with more. But he warns the tree-to-table type projects aren’t for everyone.
“It’s not just cut down a tree, cut it up and make something,” he said.
Ranauro realized the challenges immediately: It cost $2,000 to have the sequoia carefully cut down, piece by piece, and another $150 for Dominguez to mill it.
Moving the trunk out of his backyard took an afternoon and a small army. They had to roll, pry and jack it up and around his deck, then his gate, and into the front where it could be loaded into a truck and shipped off to the sawmill.
Now, he’ll have to wait more than a year to start construction on the table while the boards dry out in his garage. The moisture content of a fresh log can be as much as 85 percent, Dominguez said, but for woodworking, it needs to be less than 10 percent.
Ranauro has little woodworking experience, outside of a high school woodshop class. But growing up in Lewiston, Maine, a paper mill town, he remembers watching his grandfather collect log remnants from the mill in his truck, and bring them home to his downstairs workshop.
“Everything in the house he made,” Ranauro said. “So I had a fascination with it, even though I never learned how to do it.”

THE HUNT

The lengthy process doesn’t scare off some of the avid craftsmen of the Orange County Woodworkers Association, said Larry Marley, the club’s public affairs director. The roar of a chainsaw is enough to get them excited. It’s a sound that club members have dubbed the “call of the wild.”
“They jump in their truck, and go see if they’re cutting down something good,” Marley said.
Other times, residents reach out to the club, Marley said, to see if members want the wood from a tree they’re taking down.
Club members sometimes haul it away for free, before making bowls, toys or furniture with it. Last week, Marley sent out an email informing members of some choice-looking logs sitting in front of a San Clemente house.
Orange County’s “huge variety of trees,” many of them imported from all over the country, make it a special place for woodworkers who are passionate about recycling urban wood, Marley said.
For Ranauro, there is plenty of time to research construction techniques and think about what to do with the numerous sequoia slabs piled in his garage. He left the bark on some edges, for the rustic-looking dining room table he plans to build. His son says he will weld together some metal legs for it.
His friends, co-workers and neighbors have offered ideas for other projects. Apparently there’s something romantic about the closed-loop recycling of a sequoia tree.
“The gal across the street says, ‘Hey, I’d love a cutting board,’” Ranauro said. “Everybody wants a piece of it.”
Contact the writer: 949-492-0401 or lramseth@ocregister.com

THE PROCESS

1. Select and cut

Utilizing recycled wood is increasingly popular, and craftsmen and hobbyists in the Orange County Woodworkers Association are always on the hunt for unique tree species.

2. Transport

Moving massive branches and logs to the sawmill is an arduous process. Renauro’s 10-foot 1,500 pound sequoia log required car jacks and lots of manpower to move.

3. Milling

Woodworkers can have their more pristine tree trunks and wood cut into planks at Woodhill Firewood in Irvine. The operation has a saw and wood kiln — even its own resident chainsaw artist, John Mahoney.

4. Drying

Unless you have a kiln to speed the process, drying out “green” wood can take anywhere from one to three years, depending on moisture content. If utilized too soon, the wood can warp and crack as it continues to dry.

5. Build it

Ranauro plans to build a dining room table, while some OCWA craftsmen often create smaller items like bowls and toys from recycled wood.