Community members have sued the City Council to stop the removal of four Canary Island pine trees adjacent to the Lawn Bowling Green by the Coronado Public Library along D Avenue.

City officials want to remove the trees because the roots are supporting subterranean fungal growth that was constantly damaging the playing surface of the bowling green.

A lawsuit has temporarily stopped the removal.

How did we get here?

Here’s a history of what’s occurred

Here’s a brief history:

On Feb. 16, 2021, Coronado’s City Council heard from city staff on the replacement of the lawn bowling green surface outside of the John D. Spreckles Center as the life expectancy of the green is about a decade, according to city records.

On July 18, 2023, the city council heard from Leon Firsht, director of Public Services and Engineering for Coronado, to get direction for a final design of the green and authorization to replace the turf.  

City staff, led by City Manager Tina Friend, also felt it was best to ask the council to vote to remove the pine trees in order to continue with the lawn replacement project.

The green was put in in 2010 with a 10-year life expectancy.

The Lawn Bowling Green behind the Coronado Public Library. Staff photo by Madeline Yang.

Mounds began appearing in late 2019

Right around schedule, mounds started appearing under the bowling green in late 2019. These mounds were found to be puffball mushroom fungus.

Several options to resolve the issue were tested, including puncturing the green with fungicidal injections to slow the growth of the mushroom fungus. 

However, none of those options were successful in eradicating the problem.

Firsht told the council in July that any tree could contribute to mounds, but that the fungus was not able to thrive on dead tree roots.

“I do understand that we want to keep our trees…but with the cost savings and I think the greater ability to prevent this happening again, I’d actually be supportive of removing the pines along D [Ave],” Councilwoman Carrie Anne Downey said at the July 18 meeting. 

“The vast majority of these [mounds] are on D Avenue, so they have to be coming from those pine trees,” Councilman Mike Donovan said following Downey’s comments.

The trees that are to be removed due to causing fungus to grow on the Lawn Bowling Green. Staff photo by Madeline Yang.

Donovan continued to say that the Canary Island pine trees could be replaced with other trees that would most likely not lend to the fungus.

City council votes to remove the trees

A motion to remove all four trees was approved, with a 5-0 vote. 

However, following this action, there was backlash from some community members. 

That led to Councilman Casey Tanaka at the Aug. 15 city council meeting to revisit the issue and get feedback from Coronado residents.

Ultimately, after an almost three-hour session of public comments and council deliberation, four members of council decided to stick with their original decision and remove the trees, while Tanaka voted no. 

This led to the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 5 by four Coronado residents and the Animal Protection and Rescue League.

Currently, the trees remain standing.

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Madeline Yang is a reporter for The Coronado News, covering the City of Coronado, the U.S Navy and investigating the Tijuana/Coronado sewage issue. She graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with her Bachelors in Journalism with an emphasis in Visual Storytelling. She loves writing, photography and videography and one day hopes to be a filmmaker. She can be reached by phone at 916-835-5843.