Recovery continues for vandalized Chambers Bay Douglas fir

The recovery of Chambers Bay’s iconic Douglas fir continues although the arborists contracted to save the wounded tree have put their work on hold until fall. The tree was attacked by a still-unknown person with an axe in April.

“New growth is visible on almost every branch, which is an encouraging sign of the tree’s health and vigor,” said David L. Wienecke, Chambers Bay’s superintendent.

The arborists had been concerned that the tree showed movement during high winds.

However, since repairs to the tree were completed, Wienecke inspected the tree during two high-wind events and observed little or no movement in the lower third of the trunk. “This is a very good indication that the repairs and tree health will enable it to recover successfully from the wounds,” he said.

The only recent indication of potential damage is from visitors walking around the tree. Wienecke and his crew responded by reapplying the composted manure mulch on a regular schedule to protect the tree from foot traffic. He also installed black cyclone fencing around the tree to provide further protection.

The fir is the golf course’s signature image, appearing in magazine, newspaper and television news accounts of Chambers Bay’, which was selected as the 2015 U.S. Open and 2010 U.S. Amateur site. It also is used in the course’s advertising and marketing materials. The tree is home for bald eagles and a point of reference for golfers and walkers on the Soundview Trail, which traverses the course near the tree’s location between the 15th green and 16th tee.

The University Place Police Department continues to look for a break in the case and met with Wienecke last week. “They informed me there are no new leads,” he said. A reward is offered by Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County, which can be contacted at (253) 591-5959.