The discovery of the tree's poor health began in mid-February when it experienced "a significant limb failure," forcing the City to close the picnic tables and areas around the children's playground section of the park near the intersection of Roque Moraes Drive and Hamilton Drive. City workers pruned the tree and removed a number of defective or dead branches. But after Public Works Director Jill Barnes had an independent arborist evaluate the tree, it was determined that the tree was infested by the eucalyptus tortoise beetle, causing it to become "diseased and distressed."
PG&E, which has its Alto Substation located and actually owns the land on which Hauke Park sits (it granted the City an easement years ago), has contracted Davey Tree Company to remove the top part of the tree near the power lines. The City has contracted Slope Tree Cooperative to remove the rest of the tree down to ground level. Mill Valley Public Works crews will assist by moving logs to the City's Corporation Yard and helping to chip branches, City officials said.
The removal work will begin on Monday, March 23 and last for four days, 9am–4pm, with no work occurring on the weekend. Chainsaws and chippers will be used. Tree crews will use a 100-foot crane to reach the upper branches. Temporary traffic control signage, delineators, and traffic control personnel will direct traffic in the area during removal operations as needed. Roque Moraes Avenue, Kipling Drive, and Hamilton Avenue may be subject to delays during the removal.
PG&E and City staff will report on the tree removal and seek input from the Parks and Recreation Commission about replacing the tree at the Commission's April 1 meeting at 7pm. For more information, please contact Brandon Stewart, Park Maintenance Superintendent, City of Mill Valley, at (415) 388-4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.