Red, White, and Blue (and Green)

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The city of Berkeley has planted new street trees around our neighborhood. We’ve seen a variety in the past, from scrubby, less-than-robust-looking Chinese pistaches, liquidambars, and this-one-with-rough-bark-that’s-quite-beautiful-in-the-autumn. There’s a stout-looking eastern oak across the street from us, right next door to a lot where the former residents planted a couple maples in the curb strip. The maples are OK, but since they’re growing into the power lines, they’ve had great big aggressive V’s pruned into their crowns.

The newer trees are maples, too. A dying camphor tree was removed from the curb strip next-door about six or seven years ago, I’m guessing, and a maple took its place. Our former neighbor took great care of the young tree (meaning it got plenty of water during our six-month annual drought), and it’s taken off–it’s already getting close to 15 or 18 feet high. It’s already pushing out its leaves (and a healthy crop of seeds, too, it looks like–not sure it’s done that before).

Red, White, and Blue (and Green)

maple032512.jpg

The city of Berkeley has planted new street trees around our neighborhood. We’ve seen a variety in the past, from scrubby, less-than-robust-looking Chinese pistaches, liquidambars, and this-one-with-rough-bark-that’s-quite-beautiful-in-the-autumn. There’s a stout-looking eastern oak across the street from us, right next door to a lot where the former residents planted a couple maples in the curb strip. The maples are OK, but since they’re growing into the power lines, they’ve had great big aggressive V’s pruned into their crowns.

The newer trees are maples, too. A dying camphor tree was removed from the curb strip next-door about six or seven years ago, I’m guessing, and a maple took its place. Our former neighbor took great care of the young tree (meaning it got plenty of water during our six-month annual drought), and it’s taken off–it’s already getting close to 15 or 18 feet high. It’s already pushing out its leaves (and a healthy crop of seeds, too, it looks like–not sure it’s done that before).

Tree vs. Car

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While walking The Dog in the rain and wind late Saturday night, I heard the sound of heavy equipment somewhere in the neighborhood. I wondered if the noise was carrying all the way from Telegraph Avenue, where a big apartment building had burned the night before. Was it being demolished already? But while circling back toward home, I spotted what looked like a city tree-maintenance crew working on McGee Avenue south of Cedar. We detoured to investigate, and the crew turned out to be one guy who was cutting up a fallen liquidambar tree as a police officer and several bystanders looked on. In the dark, it was hard to see what had happened; the tree appeared to have snapped off about six or seven feet above the ground (it was windy out, but not that windy). Oh, and it looked like there was a car under the fallen tree.

Next day, our morning walk took us back by the spot. The car: worse for wear, a condition the owner apparently had yet to discover. The tree: still a little mysterious how it came down, though a neighbor passed by and said the truck had split and the crown of the tree had fallen in separate directions. I’m not a tree guy, so I don’t know if they’re prone to a sudden failure like this. But seeing that one tree down has changed the way I look at all the other liquidambars along the street. (Click pictures for larger images.)

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