A Bunch of Park Lane’s Beloved Eucalyptus Trees Have Been Cut Down

••• “Are the eucalyptus trees that line the 600 block of Park Lane protected?” emailed K. “I was horrified to see that 655 Park Lane is in process of removing all of the trees that line their road frontage. Is there something that can be done to ensure other properties don’t do the same? The work that has been done is irreparable, and has forever changed the beauty of one of Montecito’s coveted streets.” The trees are at the northern end of the iconic allée, so it could’ve been worse, but still, what a pity. I’m looking into whether the county has regulations regarding trees on private property (besides oaks, which are protected). To be fair, there may have been a reason we don’t know—the trees could’ve been diseased, for instance, or the power company might have insisted on their removal. UPDATE: “The area is not in the coastal zone or in an environmentally sensitive habit therefore no permit is required,” said a rep for the county. I’m not sure whether the streetwise location was taken into consideration. UPDATE 5/14: The owner of 655 Park Lane emailed an explanation: “It is a beautiful part of Montecito and the tunnel of Eucalyptus on lower Park is fantastic. However, we have had three of the Eucalyptus tress that line the road come down, over the last few years and each of these had taken out a specimen Live Oak on each occasion. The last tree fall took out both an irreplaceable Oak and put holes in our roof. They are not native to the area and, unfortunately, don’t have great root systems so in that particular location, with native Oaks and our home on one side, and the power lines on the other (which causes SCE to trim them such that they are weighted toward the house)—it’s a problem. After the last tree fall, that was my limit. I value the Oaks higher than the Eucalyptus, and the danger to the home was just an overhanging worry.” He included this photo:

••• Robert Redfield’s More Than Just A Party Band, a documentary about Spencer the Gardener, premieres at the New Vic Theatre on May 20: “Growing up in the idyllic 1970s Santa Barbara, a surfing basketball-playing tango-dancing musician effortlessly achieves a flash of early fame but is then forced to rewrite his definition of success when faced with a harsh music industry, unrelenting personal obstacles, and cultural shifts. The result is 40 years of his own enduring and quirky brand of music and entertainment style that some say sounds like the soul of Santa Barbara.”

••• Radius Commercial Real Estate‘s first-quarter report included the sale of 6900 Hollister Avenue (at the northwest corner of Storke Road, and current site of the Vitamin Shoppe and Montecito Bank & Trust) to an owner-user that appears to be the Ferris Orthodontic Group.

••• Press release from Elings Park and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden:

The public is invited to take part in a series of eight free nature walks to explore the biodiversity of the 230-acre Elings Park as part of a new collaboration between the park and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Each hike has a different natural history focus, such as plants, pollinators, or birds, and are led by Garden experts.

The first event, held Thursday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to noon, is a “bioblitz” of the park led by Denise Knapp, Ph.D., the Garden’s director of conservation and research, and Annie Ayers, herbarium technician. After a brief tutorial, participants use the iNaturalist app on smartphones to record the pollinators, birds, bugs, plants, and more that they discover on the walk. No reservations are required. Meet at the parking lot adjacent to the park administration building. Participants should download and log in to iNaturalist before the walk.

The data gathered on this walk will be used as part of a larger collaborative effort between the two partners and the public to transform a section of the park from invasive to native plants and document the effects. Future walks are scheduled, once a month, through the end of 2023.

••• Santa Barbara Airport has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program: “This program enables people with varied disabilities, especially non-visible disabilities, to access the support they need and travel through SBA with enhanced ease. Passengers with a disability may voluntarily choose to wear a Sunflower lanyard, or other Sunflower branded item, to discreetly indicate they need extra assistance or time. Airport staff are trained to recognize the Sunflower and are available to provide an even higher level of assistance and support as needed.” I’m all for it, but putting “hidden disabilities” on the front does reduce the discretion somewhat.

••• J. reports that Orient Hand Laundry on S. Fairview Avenue in Goleta has closed.


Sign up for the Siteline email newsletter and you’ll never miss a post.



Chris Barriere

So I was born here at Cottage Hospital. I have dealt with the scourge of Eucalyptus Globulus my life. As a skateboarder and cyclist I have scars from wiping out after getting branches and nuts caught in wheels and spoke. The Eucalyptus is an invasive and destructive alien species which was introduced in 1850s. These trees do substantial harm to thr local environment and ruin the soil. Over the next 25 years the County of Santa Barbara will remove 95% of all Eucalyptus from Public lands in an effort to combat invasive species, widespread property damage, and the liability the County and City have incurred as a result of hundreds of injuries from falling branches.

Eucalyptus evolved in the desert climate of Australia. It is normally a slow growing, water saver, adapted for dry climates. As such every eucalyptus tree traps water, removing it from the air and soil. The rapid growth the experience in rainy climates causes the wood to twist and become very brittle. This allows very large branches to detach in strong winds, and this is very dangerous. Few other trees so readily drop branches in wind storms, none here in town.

While is distasteful to have to cut down such a large tree, these trees are a burden. Most animals cannot adequately make use of their widely shifting branches to make adequate nesting sites. Palm,Pine, Fir, Cedar, and Sycamore trees provide just as much oxygen and do not drop toxic leaves loaded with Inflammable oils or affect the soil Ph.

Lets be clear, they should plant different tree first to replace these ones. Simply chopping them down is not the answer. But we are not defending these trees by any stretch. We need to find a happy balance where every single Eucalyptus cut down is replaced by a semi mature tree such as Coastal Oak, Monterey Cypress, Redwood, Bristlecone Pine, or Palm. Any of these are perfectly natural to find growing in the remote areas of the back country and should be promoted on a wider scale. The Bottle rush is popular in town and native to the islands. These are a great option and do not drop things which jam skateboard wheels.

Bomb Hills not Countries..

Dan O.

As a gardener I’m not a big fan of Eucalyptus trees but I do like the ones that smell like lemons when it rains. And I must say I love these trees on Park lane.

Tripp Couch

Thanks Chris, I came here to share my frustration about seeing trees cut down in our quaint neighborhood and leaving here knowing it was the right thing to do – along with further knowledge of dendrology!


Eucalyptus Trees are very flammable. During the fires they burst into flames with an audible boom sound. Our neighbor has a grove of old and dying eucalyptus trees and last year 2 trees experienced spontaneous combustion and we thought the whole hill would explode. The Carp Fire dept was here immediately . They are remarkable fire fighters.


Prior to recent extreme storms and up to 2020, when I moved into a new home, I owned a condo in the shadow of three of the largest Eucalyptus Trees in town and feared them coming down in storms as well as exploding and setting the neighborhood on fire. YES… they are extremely combustible with a high level of oil in them and the explosions create a much greater span of embers and rapid fire spread. They are a hazard all over town…

Julie P

Probably the owners of 655 Park Lane are worried about damage to life and property from the notoriously deadly eucalyptus trees! They are probably liable if one of the trees injured a passing motorist. If I had eucalyptus on my property the first thing I’d do have them removed.


Oak trees are not protected in residential zones in the inland area of the county, other than in Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas on properties. They’re only protected in the Coastal Zone and on Ag zone properties, Mountain zone properties, and Resource Protection zone properties in the inland area of the county. Oak trees, Eucalyptus trees, and other vegetation are protected in Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas on properties, such as along creeks; however, the street is likely not in an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area. Considering the location of the trees cut down and the fact that Park Lane is a County maintained roadway, those trees likely were on County property, so the property owner at 655 Park Lane probably should have gotten permission from County Public Works’ Transportation Division for the tree removal.

Kate Gruwell

How’s the murder investigation going concerning the victim who lived on Park Lane?


I remember years ago one of those Eucs on Park lane failing over and killing someone. That’s why they are called widow makers.


The airport also has a pin available instead of the big lanyard. It’s about the size of a dime with a sunflower face and a message “I support the sunflower,” which is more discreet. Both are free.

John MacFarlane

I am the owner of that property on Park Lane and removed the Eucalyptus trees. While we have lived in the property for over twenty years, in the last few we have lost three of the Euc’s there to rain/wind. During the last large storm one took out an irreplaceable Live Oak, damaged our roof, and home. The Euc’s are beautiful there, unquestionably, but just don’t form a deep enough root system so it’s a problem and further exacerbated by the required asymptomatic trimming for the SCE power lines. If there was a way to protect the native Oaks and the structure, I would have kept them happily. But due to the poor root stability it was not worth the risk to the native Oaks, structure or utility lines. We will plant something native, which won’t compete with the Oaks or cause trimming issues with the utilities lines. It’s obviously controversial but I don’t see the other option of topping them as a better solution.

John aka "Jack" Look

My great great grandfather planted many eucalyptus trees on his ranch as wind breaks in the 1860’s. They used to line the old highway ( cut down in the 1950’s when the highway became the freeway) line the railroad tracks ( cut down in the 1970’s to give the new owner’s a better view of the ocean) but still there between the pastures and orchards. The smell was wonderful the debris horrid, a beautiful vision and a terror during wild fires. Great as a windbreak as long as it was too strong.

Penelope Bianchi

Fascinating, Jack. You have wonderful stories about these parts!