Concerns About Chico’s New Tree Policy That Stunts Their Growth

Source: Nextdoor App
Credit: Marybeth Wuerthner
Posted: Jan 4, 2019

In October 2018, I happened upon a truck parked in front of my house with the company logo “TS Growth Solutions” with Minnesota licence plates. There were orange cones around the truck and a young man was bent down near the base of the black walnut tree on my parkway. He stood up and drove to the next black walnut down the street and did the same thing. I soon found out through their website and a little bit of research that he was injecting a toxic chemical called Cambistat into the soil around the trees in Chico, CA under power lines to stunt their growth, with a 40 to 90% reduction in growth according to the EPA.

A call to the city revealed that our urban forester contracted PG&E to have this done as a solution to trees growing into power lines, instead of just properly trimming the trees. These injections must be repeated every few years to adequately stunt the trees’ growth. All of this was being done without the knowledge and consent of the public.

I learned from the field representative for PG&E that this chemical is not to be used on fruit or nut trees, but it was on my street! He could not provide me any data on what it does to humans, birds and squirrels who eat the fruit and berries from trees treated with Cambistat and encouraged me not to eat the fruit for a year. I was angry because not only am I vehemently opposed to the use of Cambistat, but also because how was I to know not to eat the fruit when our city did not inform us about these injections? I explained to the PG&E rep as well as our urban forester that it is not uncommon for people in Chico, CA to grow fruit trees and even garden vegetables on their parkways.

On further research of Cambistat toxicity, I found under “Unusual Fire Hazards” :”During a fire, irritating and possible toxic gases may be generated by thermal decomposition or combustion.” What happens to the air in Chico, CA when people all over the city unknowingly burn wood from trees treated with Cambistat in their fireplaces? None of these potential hazards were taken into consideration when the decision was made to inject this poison, but they would have been discussed if the city had properly informed the public.

To his credit the urban forester did respond quickly to my complaint saying that from now on a doorhanger would be left with a number to call to opt out before they inject. But this is far from good enough!

Is this something you want done to the trees in your city, the ground in front of your house where we, along with our children, pets, and animals work and play?

Please contact the city council and our urban forester. If you agree with my concerns, please tell them to stop Cambistat injections in Chico, CA immediately.

– Marybeth Wuerthner

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