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Large oak removal to impact traffic on Middlefield Road

Original post made on Mar 29, 2012

A 100- to 200-year-old valley oak at Walter Hays Elementary School that arborists have determined is diseased will be removed Saturday morning, March 31, the Palo Alto Unified School District has announced.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 29, 2012, 4:47 PM

Comments (16)

Posted by paloaltotreewatch, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm

the biggest hazard to trees in this city are the arborists and the
chicken-hearted city lawyers who see no beauty but liability instead.

If they would all just go away the trees would be better off.
All of you arborists why don't you just find some empty parking lots with no trees to fix instead of one by one prematurely removing trees in this city.

You are supposed to be stewards...you have forgotten that completely.You could cut all the branches back severely and it would pose no safety hazard.

Look at that tree - green leaves all the way to the tips.
You got to be kidding me.
Dave Dockter - I thought you were the protector of the oaks.
Time to use to powers.


Posted by Howard, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Why hasn't someone given the tree a name, like Old Bill or Woody? (Or more accurately, "Dangerous, rotten tree").


Posted by Tree hugs , a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Paloaltotreewatch
You've got to be joking. Would you seriously risk letting kids walk underneath a tree that could potentially fall over or lose a limb? How many times have we seen oaks topple after heavy rains? I would gladly suggest the City or school district remove the tree and mitigate with some other species or even in kind, rather than risk a child getting hurt because you can't fathom the idea of a human life over a tree.


Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:13 am

Leave a huge, old, declining, diseased tree near an elementary school and over a main thoroughfare?

I hear Mister Rogers now: "Can you say lawsuit? I know you can."


Posted by Tom, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

I hope folks will take the long view here. The old tree is glorious, but it's sick, no reason not to believe that. A small grove of three native Black Oaks will, in a few years, look really nice here.


Posted by paloaltotreewatch, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 30, 2012 at 11:06 am

There is no reason the tree can't be cut way back to remove the safety hazard. Possibly even putting a metal post brace
The hazard is from limbs falling not the tree falling over.

The same city folks could have done the same for the Pardee trees - ie. top them and cut them way back.
They don't want to out of long term maintenance issues and also the fact that the lawyers rule all decision on liability.

The same happen here.
Go Barron Park or Santa Cruz - there were Oaks where were cut way back and still live and are beautiful.

I want tree stewards in the this city. Not those who find any excuse to remove trees.


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

To "paloaltotreewatch": Where do you get your info that the only possible danger is from limbs falling off?? According to the article,

"A copy of the arborist report can be found here. The report states that the tree is heavily infested with a wood-decay fungus.

"This tree presents a significant hazard because of extensive trunk decay and the targets in the vicinity that will be struck when the tree falls apart -- the very busy Middlefield Road to the south and the school classroom building in the north," the report noted.

Just looking at the picture, if they take off the limbs that pose a threat, there's not much of the tree left. It would basically leave just the "heavily infested with fungus" part.

Trees, like people, don't live forever. They're also not meant to live next to a busy street.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

The picture shows that classrooms could be in the fall line. It's time for a small grove of trees, maybe enough to cover up that hideous mural on the wall facing Middlefield.


Posted by Native Oak lover, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

I agree with those who have said that liability issues have too often taken precedence over saving landmark oaks in Palo Alto, however this tree had the misfortune of being born where humans decided to build a school and a major artery for transportation. We are losing more and more Valley Oaks in North Palo Alto, but it is sadly true that they do not live forever and can be badly diseased while still leafing out in the Spring. Chopping off limbs generally only further weakens them. They can fall when the soil is saturated, especially if they have diseased root systems and rotten trunks. My only hope, Mr. Doctor, is that you will replace this one with another Valley Oak, not a "grove of black oaks" which are not native to Palo Alto, or redwoods (too much redwood worship here — where Coast Live Oaks and Valley Oaks were originally the dominant trees). Like the Valley Oak on El Camino and Embarcadero Road near Paly,
it will begin to look nice in a few years and maybe give pleasure, and an appreciation of our natural history, to future generations.


Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

paloaltotreewatch --

Arborists do not "top" trees.

Chainsaw-wielding hacks top trees.


Posted by rem, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

rem is a registered user.

Well, I see a few people got their "commission".

It would be interesting if they had done a "bore" and really knew the age..

It was interesting when another "big boy" way taken and WHEN you LOOKED at the stump. It was over a 100 years old AND not a BAD mark anywhere in the remaining stump...

Oh well, another beauty bits the dust!!!!!

ps/ I drive Middlefield daily and love those trees. If Palo Alto's arborists keep up their work Middlefield will look like San Antonio Road..


Posted by once kingsley resident, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I agree with the person who said that the arborists are out of control. The tree removal in the area is startling.

It's time to change the name of the city. How do you say "Innocuous Short Ugly Hedges" in Spanish?


Posted by TreesOhTrees, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm

So Sad to lose a great tree; but apparently it can't be saved. Not sure you can plant another oak there since it would have lingering decay?? Perhaps another type of tree to tolerate it.


Posted by carlito waysman, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Dave Dockter, the so called City "arborist". LOL, what a joke!


Posted by Palo Alto trees, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2012 at 8:12 am

Dave Dockter seems to be always caught in the politics of his job. I wish he would stand up and show his true love for trees.
Enough of these horrible decisions based on politics. It is so transparent.

Dave Dockter and the city should realize the value of these trees and excercise their power correctly. It is pathetic really.
I am tired of the wimpy responses and cover ups, while trees are being cut and harmed.

Have some spine and integrity.




Posted by Treeville, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2012 at 8:38 am

I honestly am not sure what people are looking at. Go up to a high floor at 525 University some time (even the top of one of the city garages) and you see a virtual carpet of trees. And the streetscape is as tree-rich as any densely populated town I have ever seen. I am not happy to see a big tree cut down, but it happens all the time, and new ones grow to take their place in time.


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