UPDATE: Farewell to street trees outside Lafayette Elementary

11:25 AM: Thanks to Andy for the tip. Notices of their impending removal have been posted for weeks, and today – with two weeks to go until school starts – the remaining street trees outside Lafayette Elementary in The Admiral District are coming down.

We’ll be checking with SDOT regarding replacement plans.

3:10 PM: SDOT spokesperson LeAnne Nelson says that’s actually a crew hired by Seattle Public Schools, though replacing the trees eventually will be up to SDOT:

Regarding the trees near Lafayette Elementary, unfortunately, they have Dutch Elm Disease. Several trees were removed from the area a few years ago, due to the same disease. We estimate the trees are about 70 years old. The School is responsible for removing the remaining 4 trees. Hauling the wood away and grinding the stumps helps eradicate the infection. We’ll then come in with site-appropriate trees — more resistant to Dutch Elm — and they will become our maintenance responsibility. There isn’t a specific timeframe for planting yet.

Since we sent our inquiry to SDOT this morning, some commenters have brought up other issues that we’ll have to take to the district for a separate followup.

29 Replies to "UPDATE: Farewell to street trees outside Lafayette Elementary"

  • Gina August 21, 2018 (11:32 am)

    Dutch Elm disease strikes again.

  • Lola August 21, 2018 (11:59 am)

    Do we know why they wanted them removed?

    • WSB August 21, 2018 (12:19 pm)

      If you can’t tell from the photos… they are clearly dead. No leaves.

      • JeffK August 21, 2018 (12:54 pm)

        Everything looks dead outside in this haze.

        • WSB August 21, 2018 (1:01 pm)

          That’s true, but these unfortunately were languishing long before the sky turned yellow.

          • junctioneer August 21, 2018 (2:23 pm)

            The notices said dutch elm disease.

  • Morgan August 21, 2018 (12:21 pm)

    Mature trees so totally change the feel of a neighborhood. Shame. 

  • Sarah Rice August 21, 2018 (12:55 pm)

    They’ve been getting worse and worse for the past few years.  It’ll be forever before we get the nice canopy again.

  • Jen August 21, 2018 (1:25 pm)

    I keep hoping they will replant with some kind of new trees to replace all the ones they have taken out. There have been others they took out a few years ago and those have not been replaced. Fingers crossed they put in something….although hopefully not the kind that is up and down California ave that gives off all that sticky stuff that lands on cars and the sidewalk. 

    • WSB August 21, 2018 (1:29 pm)

      That’s part of the question I have out to SDOT. The city’s general rule is two trees to replace every one cut, at least on private property, so we’ll see. (The trees to which you refer are lindens, and the sticky stuff is actually not from the trees but from the aphids that love them.) – TR

      • Rick August 21, 2018 (2:12 pm)

        Was told by a city arborist that the “sticky stuff” is more or less “aphid excrement”,  whatever that is but at least it’s water soluble. Washes off pretty easily if you take the time.

      • KM August 21, 2018 (3:30 pm)

        Hoping against lindens at least until we can find out more about their relationship regarding that bumble bee die-off that happened earlier this spring/summer.

      • Jen August 22, 2018 (2:53 pm)

        Thanks for the info on the  lindens.  All I have to say is there is no aphid shortage with all that sticky stuff everywhere! It does wash off easily but sticks to your shoes which then has other things stick to that so you track stuff everywhere. Maybe I’ll have to invest in some ladybugs to release to munch on the aphids! lol

  • Jeff B. August 21, 2018 (1:38 pm)

    The City Arborist and his department have done very little to stop city trees from being cut down and when they replant, they plant non-native trees which are good for absolutely nothing. Seattle’s Tree canopy is vanishing at an alarming rate, never to return.  Greed and ignorance seems to be the biggest reasons.

    • JVP August 21, 2018 (2:40 pm)

      I dunno man.  Looking out my window there’s a lot more tall mature evergreen trees than there were 10 years ago. From my point of view, there’s more trees now that there used to be.The city isn’t wilderness, it’s never going to be. I’m much more excited about preserving in tact forests that I am preserving big trees in the city. I’m a committed enviro, but I like my views.  There, I said it. 

    • Peter August 21, 2018 (4:25 pm)

      “Seattle’s Tree canopy is vanishing at an alarming rate.” Yeah, I hear that claim a lot, it’s usually based on made up numbers from years ago. Do you have any actual evidence to back up that claim?   

  • polka dot August 21, 2018 (1:58 pm)

    Is it up to the school…or who decides what if anything will be planted there?What can we do to help new trees get planted?

    • WSB August 21, 2018 (2:03 pm)

      The planting strip is city right-of-way. So that would be SDOT Urban Forestry.

  • Admiral Neighbor August 21, 2018 (2:21 pm)

    I have heard from several who attend Lafayette that the district will NOT contribute payment for new trees or for irrigation for the first few years. I hope they will cooperate with the city so that kids and neighbors can benefit from new trees.

    • WSB August 21, 2018 (2:26 pm)

      One thing to consider there if that’s so is that Lafayette is up for a possible rebuild/expansion in the next BEX levy (not finalized yet).

  • Gina August 21, 2018 (2:21 pm)

    The trees had city arborist signs posted on them since spring stating they would be removed, and the cause was dutch elm disease. 

  • Forest August 21, 2018 (3:01 pm)

    What will become of the inlaid and neighborhood-specific sections of sidewalk that were intentionally designed to meander around the big trees and semi-exposed roots? Will those sections be torn out and replaced with a generic sidewalk?

  • WSB August 21, 2018 (3:29 pm)

    I will have to follow up separately on some of the issues raised here. But I have updated above with the SDOT reply I received to my inquiry this morning, for starters – TR

  • they August 21, 2018 (3:37 pm)

    I went to Lafayette back in 67 sad to see the trees go…

  • rpo August 21, 2018 (3:42 pm)

    Side question, but what’s happening with the missing sidewalk around the corner from Lafayette in front of the 7/11. It was removed over a month ago. They oddly replaced it with gravel. 

  • Millie August 21, 2018 (7:48 pm)

    As an alumna of Lafayette, I can remember the beautiful lush, green trees in front.  Yes, it has been years since it was so.   Hopefully, these trees will be replaced, watered and maintained.  Seattle needs to restore its’ trees to help clean the air.Thank you in advance for doing so!

  • slc August 21, 2018 (9:01 pm)

    JVP – you said it best.  Thank you.

  • Gina August 22, 2018 (9:55 am)

    Anecdotal from family members, trees were planted at the time new Lafayette opened, there were some really big trees taken out when the earthquake damaged old Lafayette was torn down and the gully and streams covered by the playground of the new school.

    • WSB August 22, 2018 (10:13 am)

      Thanks for all the background! That would seem to fit with the “about 70 years.” If I had more time or some help, I would have gone looking for historical photos … SWSHS or someone must have had some from when they were planted.

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