The Atherton Tree Committee is seeking volunteers to serve on
the Committee. Activities of the Committee include the annual Arbor Day event,
Heritage Tree Awards, tree care workshops and tree planting. If you love trees,
please consider joining our Committee. Meetings are held on the fourth Thursday
of the month at 4:00 p.m. Anyone interested should contact Chairperson Rachel Croft at 323-4714.
Atherton Tree Awards
Do you have a special tree on your property? The Atherton Tree Committee is accepting nominations for the 19th Annual Tree Awards program. Eligible trees are any species that meet one or more of the following criteria: outstanding specimen; unique in size, age, species, or historical significance. Awards will also be given for the best preserved tree and the best newly planted tree. Nomination forms are available at the Town Administrative Offices, the Permit Center, or by clicking this link Nomination_Tree_Award. The deadline for entry is 5:00 p.m., March 27, 2009. For more information contact Kathy Andrerson, town Arborist, 752-0526.
Trees for El Camino
In 1997, when Atherton planted the median in the middle of El Camino
Real (State Highway 82), Caltrans denied the town’s request to plant tall
trees with spreading crowns. Since that time, Caltrans has been persuaded to
grant permits for larger trees in other towns along El Camino and seems likely
to now grant such a permit to Atherton. As most Atherton residents have seen,
Menlo Park planted sycamores and other beautiful trees in the median and on
both sides of the highway. The new trees in Atherton would make El Camino a
more inviting, cool, shady, and attractive road.
With the town’s permission, the Atherton Tree Committee is planning to replace the existing small trees in the median with trees that will grow larger and more graceful. In existence for eighteen years, the tree committee consists of twelve knowledgeable Atherton residents and the town arborist, Kathy Hughes-Anderson. The Tree Committee will be hosting a charette to seek resident input as part of the species selection process.
Two leading candidates for trees in the median are live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) and an elm cultivar called “Frontier” (Ulmus parvifolia x carpinifolia ‘Frontier’). Atherton has strong historical connections to both oaks and elms. The area was thick with oaks when the Spaniards first explored it. The train station and the surrounding lands were called “Fair Oaks” before the town was incorporated in 1923. Elms, on the other hand were popular in the town until Dutch Elm disease reduced their number. Holbrook Palmer Park was originally an estate named “Elmwood” that the owners donated to the town.
Atherton played an important role in determining the modern elm cultivar best suited to California. In a Dutch elm resistant cultivar test plot in Holbrook Palmer, Frontier cultivars were unaffected by Dutch Elm disease while four other cultivars suffered from disease or simply didn’t grow as well. Frontier grows tall quickly, has the desired vase-shaped form, and has a beautiful burgundy color in the fall. The easiest example to locate is immediately on the right as you leave the back parking lot at Holbrook Palmer to walk to the tennis courts.
The El Camino tree planting project will extend from Encinal on the south to Stockbridge on the north. The established oaks near the north end will remain, as will most of the low shrubs. The small trees and tall shrubs now in the median - oleander, Photinia, flowering plum, and Tristania - will be moved to another site, sold, or otherwise disposed of.
The project will require approximately one hundred trees and is expected to cost between fifty and seventy-five thousand dollars. The Tree Committee is developing construction drawings and will obtain bids from local tree companies for trees, labor, mulch, irrigation, stakes, and everything else required. The Committee has raised $25.000 for the project and may be able to obtain some limited grant funding. We are seeking additional funding from the community.
Such donations from Atherton residents are essential to making the plan a reality. A five hundred dollar donation will buy, plant, and maintain one tree. The trees we residents plant in 2007 may well grace the oldest road in California for hundreds of years to come. Resident donations, which are tax deductible, should be made to the “Atherton Tree Committee” and sent to the Town office at 91 Ashfield Road. Comments and suggestions are welcome as well and should be sent to the same address.
San Francisco Bay Area 'State of the urban forest' report available
The USDA Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research has just published a report about the state of the Urban Forest in the San Francisco Bay Area. The authors are Jim Simpson and Greg McPherson.The report summarized a research project that had three main goals: to describe the historic changes to the region’s urban canopy cover and amount of impervious surface; to quantify the value of ecosystem services the current forest provides; and to estimate the future benefits based on possible expansion of the urban forest. This information will enhance our understanding of the relevance of urban forests and of the extent to which they affect the environmental and economic health of Bay area communities. Some of the more interesting findings in the study include the following:
For those interested in the historic changes in the urban forests of the San Francisco Bay area and the benefits the trees provide, this document provides a wealth of information. The report can be downloaded at : www.fs.fd.us/psw/programs/cufr/ under ‘What’s New’.
The Atherton Tree Committee was formed in 1989 to preserve Atherton's tree heritage, to promote tree awareness and to landscape public lands. The missions and goals of the Committee are to educate residents on the proper care and selection of trees, to reduce the loss of our existing mature trees through better resident tree care, and to plant trees on public and private land that have been lost due to old age or disease. The Committee has assisted residents with replacement criteria and species selection. We have assisted the Town with the implementation of a reforestation plan for trees lost to Dutch elm disease. The Atherton Tree Committee is dedicated to improving the quality of life in our community by inspiring our residents to plant and perpetuate a healthy urban forest. We advocate the preservation, planting and maintenance of Atherton's valuable trees.
The Town of Atherton is a community of trees, with a majestic live oak as the Town's symbol.
The Atherton Tree Committee is a volunteer, non-profit, community based organization dedicated
to the preservation of Atherton's heritage trees. The Tree Committee participates in a variety of programs
designed to educate residents about the value of trees in our environment and to encourage appreciation
and protection of our urban forest resources.
Benefits of the Urban Forest
For more information contact Kathy Hughes Anderson at
650.752.0526 or send email to email@example.com