Eleven trees — hollow on their insides — recently were taken down in Garbutt Park after they were deemed unsafe to be left standing.

Eleven trees — hollow on their insides — recently were taken down in Garbutt Park after they were deemed unsafe to be left standing.

Photo provided by Daniel Antosik

Trees taken down in Garbutt Park found to have hollow insides

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 24, 2019


FERNDALE — A little more sun has been hitting the grounds of Garbutt Park recently as a number of trees had to come down due to, as of now, unknown reasons.

In July, the park saw three large oak trees fall down unexpectedly. Two were due to high winds, though one fell on what was just a “perfectly calm day,” said Daniel Antosik, deputy director for the Department of Public Works.

Wondering if there was a bigger issue going on, the DPW had Davey Resource Group evaluate 34 trees in Garbutt Park. The evaluation was conducted Sept. 6, and Davey Resource Group determined that 11 more trees had to be removed immediately.

The testing done, described as a “rubber mallet test,” found the trees to be hollow on the inside.

“Some of the bad ones that fell down, you could really hear how hollow some of these 25-, 30-inch trees were on the inside, even though they look great on the outside,” Antosik said.

As for how the insides of 11 oak trees and one elm tree went from a solid piece of wood to completely hollow, Antosik said the city isn’t sure at the moment but hopes to have a definitive answer within the month.

“(Davey) didn’t want to tell us, ‘Hey, you got ‘X’ disease or just ant infestation,’” he said. “We’ll more so find out at a later date. … You could tell that you had quite a few trees that were infested with ants, and there was basically nothing left to them on the interior.”

Safety was another concern as to why the trees had to immediately come down, as Garbutt Park is a popular park for the residents in the area, Antosik said, and they didn’t want to take any risks with damaged trees potentially falling on people.

“You had quite a few trees that were located right around the playscape,” he said. “From a public safety standpoint, we wanted to remove those trees as quick as possible prior to someone getting hurt.”

The DPW noted that the remaining trees at the park will continue to be monitored and have their health evaluated over time.

With more than a dozen trees now gone from Garbutt Park, the city will look to replace them next month. Though all but one of the trees were oak, Antosik confirmed that the city will be planting a variety of species at the park.

“There’s still quite a good canopy over there, so we will have to pepper these in, in places that are still going to get sunlight and so on and so forth, so we can make sure they establish and actually grow,” he said.

The DPW will work with the Parks and Recreation Department and Ferndale’s sustainability planner, Erin Quetell, on the new tree plantings. Parks and Recreation Director LaReina Wheeler said the trees will be strategically placed in areas that currently don’t have shade and areas where some of the fallen trees stood.

“We are trying to be strategic on where we place the trees so we don’t take away any programmable space for in the future, for amenities that the community may want at a later date in that park,” she said.

Wheeler said they are looking for volunteers to help with the tree planting. For anyone interested and looking for more information, people can contact Quetell at equetell@ferndalemi.gov.