Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tree down!

Early morning topple smashes car, no one injured

At about 5:00 am this morning a massive tree on the parking strip of a house at 1222 37th Avenue E. crashed to the ground, taking out an Acura parked across the street. Fortunately, no one was around when the incident occurred, so what could have been a tragedy is just a sad loss.

For the tree in question was one of Madison Park's very few Heritage Trees, so designated by the City of Seattle. It was a Catalpa speciosa, native to the midwestern United States; and it stood 85 fee high, with a limb spread of 75 feet. No wonder the street was entirely blocked by the tree's fall.

As the morning wore on, pedestrians and divers along E. Madison St. were slowing to take a look at the scene which the police had by then cordoned off . When we arrived at about 11:00, the water, which had been gushing from a parking-strip pipe broken in the fall, had been staunched by city crews. The homeowner told us that the water had been spouting until shortly before we arrived. Fortunately, some recently-remodeled spaces in her home were not affected by the flooding, she said.  Nevertheless, she admitted, the whole thing had been a bit traumatic.

The view from Madison Street

She noted that the sidewalk by the tree had recently been replaced, but only after the City Arborist had signed off on the design, which narrowed the sidewalk at the point of its intersection with the tree-root area (as had been done with the repaving of sidewalks near trees on E. Madison St.).  She reports that the Arborist stated that the tree had no visible signs of disease.

There was no appreciable wind at the time the tree toppled, so it's unclear what was the cause.  As the weary homeowner summed up the situation, "I guess it's just Mother Nature."

The view from 37th looking North
[Thanks to my neighbor and blog reader, Jane, who ran over to our house to alert us to this story.]


  1. Usually it's saturated ground, wind or disease, but obviously not this time! I hope they come up with a good reason for this incident, or none of us will be resting very easily.

  2. Most likely the sidewalk construction killed the tree, this is happening repeatedly. Roots are destroyed and it weakens the tree. Seattle's Arborist does not seem to stand with trees as much as commerce and business as usual. Until this failed approach is transformed we will continue to lose precious trees.

  3. thanks for sharing.


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