Do you recognize this tree?

Coast Live Oak in Piedmont Park

Let’s face it. There are fabulous trees to choose from when landscaping or replacing a tree in Piedmont. Palms, redwoods and dogwoods all have a place in the “Spectacular and Stunning” category. However, the real anchor, workhorse, and hero of our urban forest is the Coast Live Oak.

This California native has something for everyone. It is both fire-resistant and deer resistant, with a nice, long life span exceeding 200 years. The Coast Live Oak offers a tremendous canopy of shade and its branches create an unbeatable climbing structure for kids of all ages.

However, in our changing climate, the real value of this tree is its hospitality. Native oaks offer homes to hundreds of insects; in particular, pollinators like moths and butterflies. In fact, more insects call the Coast Live Oak “home” than any other tree or shrub. Now, when our pollinator population is in decline, this stalwart, faithful species is much more than pretty; it is crucial to the survival of countless insects we depend on.

Park Commissioner Amber Brumfiel nominated the beloved Coast Live Oak in Piedmont Park last year. Inspired by her children who have spent hours playing on and under the tree, Brumfiel stated, “The smooth bark on the branches from children makes the tree look and feel historical. I feel inspired whenever I look at the tree; it comes to mind first for me when I think about Heritage Trees in Piedmont.”

Quercus agrifolia, the California live oak, or coast live oak is a variable, shrubby evergreen oak tree native to California. It grows west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range from Mendocino County to Baja California. The Coast live oak typically has a many-branched trunk and reaches a mature height of 35–80 feet with trunk diameters spanning up to 10 feet.

Over the next three weeks, Piedmont Exedra will feature a brief article and picture of each 2019 Heritage Tree. The public is encouraged to seek out these trees to appreciate their beauty, history and significance. By learning more about the trees that comprise Piedmont’s urban forest, the Park Commission hopes to inspire everyone to seek out special trees in our community and encourage nominations for 2020 Heritage Trees.

The Park Commission is accepting nominations for 2020 Heritage Trees through March 16. To nominate a tree, visit the City’s website, http://www. ci.piedmont.ca.us/ and complete the downloadable form. The selected trees will be recognized at this year’s Arbor Day celebration on April 9.

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