Menlo Park: 82 heritage trees on chopping block

Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club applies for first phase of tree removals

Click on picture to enlarge.

By Sandy Brundage

Almanac Staff Writer

People living near the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club at 2900 Sand Hill Road will soon see a letter from the city sitting in their mailbox.

Menlo Park is contacting anyone who lives near the club about its request to cut down 82 heritage trees, of which 79 are coastal redwoods.

The city will accept public comment until Monday, Feb. 28, before staff makes a recommendation regarding the proposal, according to Rebecca Fotu, environmental programs manager. The city also contacted those subscribed to the city's heritage tree e-mail list and the environmental quality commissioners.

Arborist Straun Edwards of Trees 360 Degrees inspected the heritage trees slated for removal and concluded that 75 percent are either hazardous or unhealthy. In addition to potentially hurting the golf course economically, Mr. Edwards wrote, the trees were planted too close together to thrive.

The country club wants to plant 172 replacement trees of mixed variety, including Pacific dogwood and flowering purple leaf plum.

According to the city, the request is the first phase of a two-phase plan to remove heritage trees at the club. Most of the approximately 1,470 trees on site are coastal redwoods; chopping down 82 would remove about 6 percent of the total trees. Information about phase two was not yet available.

Click here to review the proposal and associated reports.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Roxie
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Looking at the arborist's report, the reason for chopping down the majority of the redwood trees seems to be improving the golf course. Although a few of the trees are unhealthy, I think the majority of the trees are as healthy as any other redwoods in Menlo Park.

Redwood trees are helping this city breath, replacing these giants with new trees is ridiculous. The golfers should learn to deal with the shade -- they probably already have, golf is about adapting. This golf club might just want new members. I say NO--we do not have to loose our urban forest every time someone wants to improve their bottom line.

I hope the city staff does not find in favor of this project.

Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Feb 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I wonder whether the hidden purpose here is to redesign the golf course? Menlo Country Club is also request from Woodside a similar request to redesign the links.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm

The trees in the photo are far from GIANTS and are less than 15-20 years old. Heavy crows ruin their tops. They are on private property and should be allowed to be removed. They grow back fast and are truly NIMBY, and some tree huggers should stay in theirs with their comments.

Like this comment
Posted by lisa
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Why do we have an heritage tree oridinance if we are going to allow tree after tree to be removed? Especially, just to replace them with something else. Accept what's there!

Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Heritage trees are important and belong to everyone in our communities. We all reap benefits from their existence as do our local wildlife whose survival is linked to these trees.
Redwoods can live up to 2,000 years so I have my doubts that they are seriously unhealthy. The arborist cites some are "unhealthy" and this could be true considering all the chemicals on the golf course or our local air....And how are trees "hazardous" and to whom? golfers?
For starters, I think Menlo Park should get more than one arborist's opinion. The trees may not need to be taken down and instead given regular spraying treatments and trimming. SH golf club may have been
neglecting them intentionally.

Like this comment
Posted by Sybille
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

An old adage comes strongly to mind: "Money makes the world go around!" I vote that these trees should stay and the golfers learn to adapt.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm

The city should demand to know what the second phase is before making any decision on the first phase requests.
In any case redwoods is what this area was all about before we all showed up. Keep the trees.
Instead of golfers looking out for hazards it turns out the golfers are the hazards - to the environment.
It's time for the city commissions and the council to have show some balls (pun intended) and keep the trees.

Like this comment
Posted by safsdfd
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm

lol. they are TREES

cut them down and replace them with something more useful, like lamp posts

Like this comment
Posted by Don
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

The purpose of replacing the trees certainly is to improve the golf course by substituting healthy, more appropriate trees for the overcrowded, unhealthy redwoods that inhibit grass growth by imposing too much winter shade. The article points out that there will be a substantial net increase in the tree count. The proposal should be approved.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Of course redwoods inhibit grass growth - because they are majestic and create shady areas. Hopefully being majestic won't become a death sentence.

Why not save the best of these redwoods and replace only the truly unhealthy ones with other species.

Like this comment
Posted by Just Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

[Post removed. Please discuss the topic. Don't attack other posters.]

Like this comment
Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

There is an implication by some posters that the trees in question were there before the golf course. Having played the golf course back in the early sixties when the club first opened, the trees were first planted by the club as a natural barrier between fairways and have grown too large for their intended purpose.

Inasmuch as the trees, which were planted circa 1960, are of no historical significance and are being replaced by slower growing pacific dogwoods and purple leaf plums, there should be no objection.
While playing the course back in the early sixties, I would also add there was no Highway 280 which came about a few years later and now runs parallel to the 12th fairway. Had the laws that exist now been in force back in 1961, I wonder whether 280 would ever have been built.

Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

Thomas's post points out an issue with respect to heritage tree ordinances that has always bothered me; and does so in this instance. I certainly agree that in an urban setting such as ours, we need rules requiring that when trees are removed, new trees need to be planted (perhaps elsewhere on the property) to provide the related benefits. However, I've always believed that if someone (indvidual, business or even country club) can show that the tree was planted by the property owner, then it isn't a "heritage" tree--that designation should apply to nature's trees--tree, it is a plant that belongs to the property owner's . If they want to cut it down, it should be their right to do so.

Like this comment
Posted by Carl Spackler
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

The trees that are in the crosshairs were planted by the course - they are "heritage" only insofar as they have grown. They were not naturally occuring and their removal will make the whole course ecosystem function much, much better.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Why is it becoming increasingly impossible to open a restaurant on the Peninsula?
By Elena Kadvany | 29 comments | 5,366 views

An Easy Emissions Win
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 901 views

Helping Partners Become Couples (vs. Helping Couples Become Partners)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 726 views

It just takes time
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 635 views

Sugar Detective
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 541 views



On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Register now