Fifty trees have arrived in Palo Alto to re-green California Avenue, according to Catherine Martineau, executive director of the nonprofit Canopy, which is overseeing the replanting on Saturday.
The Silver lindens, Southern live oaks, Freeman maples, Shumard oaks, valley oaks and Chinese pistache trees are at an undisclosed location in Palo Alto, with staff and volunteers preparing the root balls for the trees' new home, said Sharon Kelly, Canopy program director.
The trees will replace 63 mature holly oaks the city removed the week of Sept. 14 as part of an overall plan to revitalize the shopping district. The sudden removal of the trees outraged the community.
One hundred volunteers have signed up to help replant, Martineau said.
"It will be dramatic. There are different tree sizes. We hope to plant one side of the street all at once," she said.
The tree-planting event on Saturday is open to the public.
The city's Assistant Public Works Director Mike Sartor is heading the effort.
"We look at this as a possible moving-forward opportunity. We're very excited about getting this moving," Sartor said. His department has adopted the theme, "New Trees for a New Year."
The majority of trees will be Freeman maples and lindens, with the other species serving as accents or anchors, such as at the El Camino entrance, he said. The trees will be 10 to 14 feet tall and between 1 1/2 and 2 inches in diameter, depending on the species, he said. After five years, they will grow to 18 and 20 feet and after 10 years will be 25 to 28 feet tall, he said.
The volunteers will meet at 9:30 a.m. to sign in at Mimosa Lane, the alley next to Country Sun Natural Foods, 440 California Ave. Shortly after 10 a.m., 20 teams will begin planting.
A tree-planting ceremony to honor outgoing Mayor Peter Drekmeier and new Mayor Pat Burt will commence at 12:30 p.m. in front of Bank of the West at 414 California Ave., Martineau said.
"The Mayor's tree planting is a 14-year tradition by Canopy, where a tree is planted in honor of the outgoing mayor. This year we are playing catch-up so we will also honor Pat Burt," she said.
Many street-parking areas will be blocked off while the planting takes place, with spaces opening up as the planting progresses up the street, Martineau said. Volunteers are being asked to park in parking structures and lots away from California Avenue. The event will take place rain or shine, barring a severe storm, she said.