Storm downs treasured oak tree in Palo Alto neighborhood

'This is one of those oaks you spend your life maintaining,' says resident Martha Shirk

The weekend storm that blew through Palo Alto led to the fall of a treasured live oak tree in the Barron Park neighborhood early Monday morning.

This story contains 493 words.

If you are a paid subscriber, check to make sure you have logged in. Otherwise our system cannot recognize you as having full free access to our site.

If you are a paid print subscriber and haven't yet set up an online account, click here to get your online account activated.


9 people like this
Posted by Nancy J
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2017 at 10:58 am

I owned a house in Menlo with a lovely huge oak tree that I had pruned many times and eventually cabled since it kept sending out huge heavy limbs beyond my small lot. Once a huge limb fell in the back yard during a wind storm..I had to sell my property a few years ago but still have an emotional tie to that tree. I extend my condolences for your loss..I can empathize.

Like this comment
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 10, 2017 at 11:40 am

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Don't Be Cruel
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Don't Be Cruel is a registered user.

Trees give us shade, give birds and squirrels shelter, and, in the case of many oak trees, give our children tree swings, tree houses, and endless climbing fun.

When we lived in another city we were blessed to have an oak tree in our large front yard. I have fond memories of picnics beneath its shady bows, neighborhood children playing under and on it, and my father-in-law building
a tree house, ladder and climbing rope in this sturdy oak.

Many trees are beautiful, but oak trees are FAMILY members!

3 people like this
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2017 at 2:22 pm

To Ms. Shirk,

I send you my condolences on the loss of your beloved ancient tree. I've been there, and it is a terrible loss, indeed.

Blessings to you for having been a fine custodian of that splendid tree for as long as you could. Mother Nature's storm took it. So sorry.

Like this comment
Posted by JC
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm


We used to have a large and very old 4 foot wide oak tree in our cul-de-sac. It used to have 5 large branches then one branch broke off then another leaving the tree with 3 main branches but it was stable for 60 years. A neighbor became concerned that one branch was creaking more and more loudly and was afraid it was going to fall on her house. The city arborist saw to it that the branch was cut back so her house would be safe.

Unfortunately with only two main branches and part of a third main branch the tree lost its symmetry and when it rained one day the weight of the water on the leaves and branches caused first one branch to break off then the other. Our old specimen oak was now occupying most of our street.

Now the scary part. My next door neighbor and wife were backing out of their driveway. They reached the street and turned to go around the cul-de-sac when they heard the thump of the first branch. They went around to leave the street when they had to stop because the second branch had covered the street preventing them from exiting. IF THEY HAD LEFT 2 SECONDS LATER THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN CRUSHED BY THE HUGE FIRST FALLING BRANCH. A FEW SECONDS LATER THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN HIT BY THE SECOND BRANCH.

I hope my little tale will cause readers to realize that no tree lives forever and they can be very dangerous when they get old and rickety.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Tava Kitchen shutters in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 16 comments | 16,149 views

Top 6 Issues Affecting Seniors to keep an eye on as Donald Trump takes over
By Max Greenberg | 6 comments | 2,288 views

By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 991 views

Packing for the Women's March
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 703 views