Some blue gum eucalyptus trees in Corona del Mar are so old and riddled with disease that city officials declared them a danger and ordered them cut down immediately.
Mike Pisani, deputy general services director, said the 10 trees slated for removal this week are suffering from rot severe enough to pose a danger of toppling on 4th Avenue. Two other trees were removed a few weeks ago.
The trees were planted about 70 years ago and are about 50 feet tall.
"Trees are like humans. They have a set life span and these are old trees," Pisani said.
After several blue gums fell in recent storms, city workers set out to test the remaining trees. Core samples revealed spongy spots inside the trunks and rotting roots, leading officials to request emergency permission to cut down the worst cases before they fell.
All of the trees will have to come down "eventually," Pisani said. "It's a degenerative disease and it's spreading from tree to tree. Younger trees can fight off a fungus, but these trees are 70 years old."
Twenty-seven other trees will be kept under scrutiny.
The Newport Beach Parks and Recreation Commission and local residents will be given a selection of replacement trees to pick from. They will be planted in a few months.