Liquid amber trees to be replaced with flowering pears

Kelsey Shelton

Something looks a little different on Mt. Shasta Boulevard between Lake and Alma streets. Several liquid amber trees have been removed as part of a multi-phased project that was approved more than 10 years ago to prevent further damage to downtown sidewalks.

They’ll be replaced by flowering pear trees that have less aggressive root systems.

“These are appropriate to plant in our specific location,” said Mount Shasta Public Works Director Rod Bryan.

According to Mount Shasta’s city planner Julianna Lucchesi, the liquid ambers, which have grown well and are beautiful, “little though was put into the root system, and damage to the city.”

The community action plan, which was initially drafted in 2002 and approved in 2004 as the streetscape master plan, was a design study aimed to create a downtown that “considers landscape and streetscape elements,” such as parking, lighting, trees and plants, and fixtures.

The liquid ambers have a “shallow root system” that lifts curbs and sidewalks, Lucchesi said, and endanger underground utilities. The shallow roots have regularly caused expensive damage to city sidewalks and streets – damage that can result in potential injury and building damage.

The trees however, will not be replaced in front of two businesses, Pipeline Craft Taps and Kitchen and Sparky’s Landing.

“There’s a large crack in the floor of Pipeline due to the tree’s roots intruding into the building,” Lucchesi said. The businesses are currently working with the city to create an outdoor seating area that will extend the width of the sidewalk and into adjacent parking spaces.

The new trees will not actually grow pears, but will have “leaves and flowers,” as opposed to the current trees, which produce a leafy green foliage and eventually, spiked seed balls that, according to Bryan are “not ideal.”

Bryan hopes the work in the area will be finished within the next few months. “We are removing the trees now, and we will fix the pavement, the concrete curb in front of Pipeline and Sparky’s.” The trees will hopefully be planted in early fall. Bryan is hoping to get trees that are already in progress growth wise and will be at an estimated 7-10 feet tall.