Removal of four Balboa Island trees begins Monday

Mature eucalyptus trees line the northern end of Marine Avenue, near the bridge connecting Balboa Island to the mainland.
(File Photo)

Newport Beach will begin cutting down four towering, decaying eucalyptus trees on Balboa Island’s Marine Avenue early Monday.

The work is set to run from 3 to 6:30 a.m. every day through Friday to minimize effects on local businesses and vehicle traffic, though the work could generate some noise, the city said. Road closures and detours will be in place during work hours.

The job will be done by the city’s tree-care contractor, Great Scott Tree Services, based in Stanton.

The four trees deemed to be damaged, decaying and in the worst condition of the 40 that shade Marine Avenue are outside Basilic Restaurant, the Balboa Island Museum, Starbucks and Abrams Coastal Properties.

Crews also will remove three non-eucalyptus trees and replace them with trees that better match the rest of the street forest.

Some residents, however, aren’t giving up on the trees considered to be in the worst condition. Patricia Eckert emailed the City Council on Saturday asking for a last-minute reprieve for three of them so new testing can be done on their health. She argued that recent watering had renewed the trees’ vitality.

All spaces left by the removed trees will be filled with young lemon-scented gums standing about 8 to 10 feet tall. City crews will remove and replace the concrete around the newly vacant tree spaces before planting the replacements at the end of the month.

The city recently started refilling five other tree spaces that had long been empty.

Residents and arborists debated the trees’ health and stability for months, drawing on varying professional and personal opinions about the state of Balboa Island’s iconic landscape. The city Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission agreed to a compromise in September, and the council affirmed the commission’s decision.

Six additional trees along Marine Avenue that appear distressed will undergo advanced stability and health testing. If the six trees being tested show decay, they will be culled around January.

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1:16 PM, Oct. 12, 2019: This article was originally published at 4:25 p.m. Oct. 11 and has been updated with additional information.