The graceful but weakened old oak is gone. The iconic and stately tree that stood in the strip of ground along Portola Road near the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road in Portola Valley has been felled by a tree maintenance crew, Public Works Director Howard Young told the Almanac.
The last 20-foot segment of the trunk was to be taken down this morning, he said.
Though not obvious from a cursory glance, the tree -- located just northeast of the Schoolhouse at the Portola Valley Town Center -- had root rot and was too fragile to stand, arborists told the town on June 26. The portion of the tree overhanging the road was dead, and a major limb overhanging the parking lot had a crack in it, Town Manager Nick Pegueros told the Town Council.
The specter of a falling limb was of particular significance in that the parking lot in the vicinity of the tree is the venue on Thursday afternoons for the weekly farmers' market. The area under the tree was coned off for the most recent market, Mr. Pegueros said.
The town learned of the root rot after a tree-service technician removed an 8-inch limb and found it entirely dead, Mr. Pegueros said. The tree could not be saved, he said.
"It's unfortunate because it is truly one of the most remarkable trees that I've seen on this campus," Mr. Pegueros said. "It's just a beautiful tree."
In anticipation of its removal in stages this week, tree-maintenance crews on Friday, June 28, lightened the overall weight of limbs by 50 percent, Mr. Young said.