heritage oaks in Menlo Park

Just two days after commenting on InMenlo about a couple of downed Oaks in Menlo Park, Jon Lechich experienced nature’s wrath first hand. He emailed:

“Well, fortunately this Oak did not cause major damage to either homes on Mills St. But it could have taken a life, but that was not in the cards.

“Our house is on the left side of the picture and only the asphalt was disturbed. It’s time the city council take another look at Menlo’s vast amount of trees and try to predict what tree will fall next.”

We asked City Council member Ray Mueller about the trees in town and he directed us to City Arborist Christian Bonner. We asked him if the City has a procedure for checking the health of the many heritage oaks in town, and also if more than the usual number of Oaks fell this past winter. He replied:

“The City has a routine tree maintenance program where all public City trees in the right of way are inspected and pruned on a 5 year maintenance cycle.

“Private property owners are responsible for maintaining Heritage Trees located on their property. It is good practice for private property owners have their trees evaluated and monitored by an ISA Certified Arborist on a routine basis.

“It is not unusual to have a handful of trees fall over during the course of a winter. Typically these are during storm events when wind loading is increased.

“As the duration and frequency of storms increases soils can become saturated, which can make some trees more susceptible to uprooting and root failure. A good resource for specific data regarding tree failure is the UC Tree Failure Report Program.

Photo courtesy of Jon Lechich

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