Old oak in Portola Valley is coming down | July 3, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - July 3, 2013

Old oak in Portola Valley is coming down

by Dave Boyce

If with the publication of this issue of the Almanac, a graceful but weakened old oak is still standing in the strip of ground along Portola Road near the Historic Schoolhouse in Portola Valley, by the next issue this classically symmetrical and stately tree, one that probably predates the town, will be gone, officials say.

Though not obvious from a cursory glance, the tree — located just northeast of the Schoolhouse at the Portola Valley Town Center — has root rot and is too fragile to continue, 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 has 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 cannot be saved and because of its height and bulk, a crane will be necessary and the crew will need more than one day, he said. "We're moving as quickly as we can," he added.

"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, Public Works Director Howard Young said.

There were difficulties engaging a tree service on short notice in the middle of the summer, Mr. Young said. "Basically, it (came down to) who was available," he said.


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