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Beat the Beetles!
Mark Delin | Assistant City Manager

Courtesy Mark Delin.

Due to the extended drought, many pine trees in Del Mar, including our valued Torrey Pines, are showing symptoms of damage by the bark beetle. The City has begun a multi-part program to help address this problem, including the placement of pheromone traps, deep watering of Torrey Pines on City properties, and rapid action to prune or remove beetle infested trees. The City has also launched a public education program – look for an insert in your water bills, and information content on the City website. We have also alerted our Public Works crews to keep a sharp lookout for bark beetle infested trees on both public and private properties.

The City Arborist has indicated that infested trees are a definite hazard to the health of other trees in the City, and the City is requesting that every resident and property owner in the City be on the lookout for the tell-tale symptoms of bark beetle infestation: yellowing and dying branches, pitch tubes and exit holes on the trunks and reddish boring dust around the tree. To report a possible bark beetle infestation, visit the City website www.delmar.ca.us/requests. Click on the link for “Public Works Requests” and select the request type for “Bark Beetle”. “

While most property owners promptly address infested trees on their property, some have been slow to follow up with treatment or removal, endangering trees on adjacent properties. In order to enforce this issue, the City recently adopted an ordinance adding Chapter 11.13 to the Del Mar Municipal Code (DMMC), “Proper Maintenance of Trees and Plants.” This chapter makes it a violation of the DMMC to fail to treat insect-infested, diseased, or structurally weakened trees or plants, and allows the City to treat or remove trees on private property, and obtain reimbursement of costs from the property owner. Violators can also be fined per the enforcement provision in the DMMC.

Courtesy Mark Delin.

We sincerely hope that our education and outreach efforts will minimize the need to conduct enforcement efforts on private properties. Any abatement recommendation will be forwarded to the City Manager by the City Arborist, a certified arborist hired by the City. If enforcement action needs to be taken, it will follow the following steps: 1) Notice to owner by certified mail and posting on the property that abatement must take place within 30 days – the notice will include an opportunity to be heard by the City Council if the abatement is disputed. 2) If the property owner does not correct the problem within 30 days or file an objection with the City Clerk within 10 days, the City will correct the problem and will bill the property owner for the treatment or removal. The City will allow the property owner 30 days to satisfy bill, and if not satisfied, will prepare a proposed assessment for Council consideration. If affirmed by the Council in a public hearing, the assessment will be levied against the property, and enforced with the same remedies available to enforce property tax collection.



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