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Fallen oak limb damages roof, truck

Original post made on Oct 13, 2011

A large oak limb crashed down on a Barron Park homeowner's truck at about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday morning (Oct. 12). The limb also damaged part of a neighbor's roof on Kendall Avenue. Photo by Jo Hamilton.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 13, 2011, 10:01 AM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2011 at 10:47 am

This is what happens when old trees are not taken down.

There wasn't even a storm last night!


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Posted by Safe Arbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

Likely that the recent rains enabled the tree to take up more water, creating more weight on the rotted limb; wWeight that it could not support. You don't need storms to knock trees over. Many times they come down days after a storm due to soft soil, and increased water weight. That's enough to cause a problem if the tree is not healthy.
Get your trees looked at BEFORE the storms.


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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

At the first poster, your comment lacks respect. If an old man crashed their car, would you say, "This is what happens when old people are not taken down."

Oak trees can live for hundreds of years, even over a thousand years, and this one was here long before any of the homes in this neighborhood was built. You can see it in old imagery with Google Earth's historic imagery time slider. It is a beautiful tree which I am honored to have in my neighborhood (see image of its canopy at Web Link).

As Safe Arbor said, it is a good idea to have your trees checked by a qualified arborist (not a simple tree-topper!), for any health issues it may have, so that you can take measures to protect the tree and surrounding property from this sort of mishap. Canopy has a list of certified arborists (Web Link). I hope cooler heads will prevail in the response to this occurrence.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2011 at 11:53 am

I am not talking about an elderly person, I am talking about a tree, beautiful as it may be.

I have a city tree beside my driveway which I am very worried about. I have twice called the city arborist who says it is fine. It has no leaves and is leaning. It may once have been a thing of beauty (someone famous said a tree is a thing of beauty) but it is no longer. If that comes down and causes damage, I want the city arborist to explain to me why he said it was fine.


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Posted by Lawyer looking for $
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Who should I sue?


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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


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Posted by Your neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Many of the old oak trees around Palo Alto are just that - "old". So the tree is telling you it isn't long for this world. Everything gets old and needs replacing that's why I have grandchildren - they'll be here when I'm gone.

I just had a 60 year old plum tree removed from my backyard. The trunk was hollow and there were old mice nests inside. The tree removers also found out that the entire trunk was split. If I hadn't had it removed, it would have fallen over in a storm.

And, Resident if that tree comes down at the end of your driveway and causes damage - sue the City, but first ask them to pay up and cover the damage!!!


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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

Just because a tree is old, doesn't mean it should just be cut down. Big trees which if they broke could cause serious damage should be evaluated by a reputable arborist. (But be careful of trimmers whose first advice is to "top" the tree, because that has its own set of problems.) Oak trees can live for centuries, particularly when people don't mess up their habitat. Take good care of your trees and they'll take good care of you (summer cooling, wildlife habitat, increased property values, to name just a few).


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm

It really depends on the type of tree & its health. You can't compare a plum tree to an oak.

Some years back, here in EPA, there were a lot of negligent landlords who failed to care for their trees. We had early, drenching rains, resulting in many crushed roofs, close calls & evacuated tenants. Much of this could've been avoided if landlords had done proper tree care. Instead, even though the west side of EPA is full of mature trees, the landlords ignored the potential problems, then payed the piper when the trees came down. So many gorgeous trees lost, many which, w/proper maintenance, would've been okay. I was surprised at how stupid the landlords were.

Whether you rent or own, it behooves you to pay attention to the trees where you live - they can come down on your or a neighbor at any time. We pay a price for living amongst such beautiful shade.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2011 at 8:29 pm

The funny thing about this is that it was a VAN, but became a truck after the limb fell on it.


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Posted by FrankBooth
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Your neighbor, yup, you are correct.


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Posted by Resident Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

It is our choice. We can cut down all the old trees and turn Palo Alto into, ... say, Santa Clara :) Or we can pay our dues and make sure the beautiful old trees we have are looked at regularly. Educating ourselves a bit on how to spot signs of weakness is all that is needed.

Palo Alto is beautiful because of these old trees, and we all love the warmth and character that these trees add to our city, -lets work on avoiding accidents like this.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 24, 2011 at 12:17 am

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: "Your neighbor" and "FrankBooth" on most of Palo Alto's oaks being "old".

If one looks at photos of Palo Alto in the early 1900s, you would see that it is typical of the "oak savanna" habitat of this area, that is, thinly dotted with oaks.

That means that most of the oaks in Palo Alto are less than 100 years old, and most of the ones I see I would estimate at no more than 60-80 years old, corresponding with them being planted when their neighborhoods were developed.

If you had bothered to consult a reference source, you would have found that 200 years is listed as the expected lifespan for "short-lived species of oak", with others coming in at 300-400, and 600 years for some species and favorable circumstance. Palo Alto has many species of oaks, some natives and some imported.


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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

My wife just called to say that this old oak tree is apparently being cut down. I would have wished the neighbors were informed to have the opportunity to hear whether arborists had evaluated the health of the tree and what their conclusions were, and to object as needed.


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Posted by Not an acolyte of Peter.
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 6, 2012 at 6:49 am

I guess Cedric does not care that a large limb already has broken off and done damage--fortunately no one was injured or killed--but Cedric does not care about that. Your neighbor makes a good point, but to the tree huggers and pseudo-environmentalists, trees are more important than people


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Posted by Oaks are dying
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

Lots of oaks are dying in the hills from sudden oak death. If this has arrived in PA, get ready to lose a lot more. The disease can kill a healthy oak in 6 months.


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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

I did not say trees are more important than people. I said it is a good idea to have your trees checked by a qualified arborist for any health issues it may have, so that you can take measures to protect the tree and surrounding property from this sort of mishap. Hopefully we can enjoy a healthy and safe and economically valuable canopy for generations.


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