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Hundreds Of Flowering Plum Trees In Sutter County Taken Down

  

Hundreds of flowering plum trees on both sides of the road have given commuters on one Sacramento-area highway an annual show of pink blossoms for more than a decade. But, the trees are all coming down.

For more than a week, crews along the Garden Highway in Sutter County have been using backhoes to rip the stumps out of the ground.

There isn't a consensus as to when the trees were planted on this mile-long stretch. But, Cliff Beumel with Sierra Gold Nurseries says it's time to take them out.

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"If you're not a horticulturalist and you just drive by at 60 miles-an-hour and enjoy the blooms you wouldn't notice that many of them have bacterial canker and gummosis and that they're on root stalk that generally lives only about 20 years," says Beumel. So, they were starting to blow over or just die. So, they were becoming a bit of an eyesore if you looked closely and it would have got much worse year over year."

He says the size of the trees has also limited visibility for commuters and nursery employees who are entering or exiting the highway.

"I know everybody loves the trees and they're nice. But, my perception is these are a danger and one life or one serious injury is not worth the prettiness."

Beumel says in recent years, there have been three-to-four traffic collisions annually involving employees and people driving through the area.

"The best thing to have close to the road where people are going in and out is clear, open space, as unpleasing as that is to the eye...I know," says Beumel.

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The branches are being chipped and will be used as mulch. Sierra Gold has not decided whether to have the stumps ground into chips as well, or if the stumps will be put into a pile and burned.

Beumel says more than 70 people have called to ask why the trees are being removed.

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