The trunk of the Torrey pine scheduled for removal. Courtesy City of San Diego
The trunk of the Torrey Pine now removed in Ocean Beach. Courtesy City of San Diego

A 73-foot-tall tree in Ocean Beach that became the focal point in a test of wills between municipal government and community activists was removed Monday.

City officials contended the nearly century-old Torrey pine at 4652 Saratoga Ave. was in danger of falling and planned to cut it down 10 days ago, but area residents convinced them to have the tree examined further by outside experts.

According to Jeremy Barrick, a board-certified master arborist and the city’s urban forester program manager, three arborists affiliated with the city agreed the tree had to come down while two hired by residents split in their opinion.

Area resident Bill Posey told NBC San Diego that one of the experts hired by the community found the tree to be of low risk for falling.

“It’s as good as a tree can be as far as their rating, and the city just comes in and cuts it down,” Posey told the station.

When they originally planned to cut the tree, city officials said a portion of the trunk would be given to an artist, and some branches would be left behind for use by neighbors, per their request. The city also planned to consult with residents to determine appropriate replacement trees for the area.

Two nearby Torrey pines were uprooted by storms over the most recent winter, according to city officials.

As part of its plan to address the impacts of climate change, the city is completing an assessment of its tree inventory and is set to embark on a tree planting program to increase the canopy in San Diego neighborhoods.

—City News Service