Oakland’s mature trees are an integral part of Oakland’s character. They are the only living link that remains of what Oakland was. They’ve seen many funerals and family picnics and you can’t help but wonder what stories they could tell. The fact that their presence inspired the renaming of the cemetery to Oakland is indicative of their importance. They are a valuable part of our story but they are living things and they do not live forever.
It was with a heavy heart that I watched them cutting down the magnificent oak in the African American grounds in late November. It had been struck by lightning repeatedly and no amount of care could save it. Its bark was falling off, and large limbs were coming down, proof that it was time to accept the inevitable. Sadly, it is not the only tree in such poor condition. You may have noticed the orange marks on several of Oakland’s trees and worried that these trees are also slated to be cut down. I am sorry to say that is the case, but this is being done for everyone’s safety. We have consulted with our arborists and the city’s arborist and we are all in agreement that this is a necessary move. In most cases decay at their base or long-term damage from lightning has weakened these trees to the point that they must be removed. The city’s forestry department will manage the removals. However, we will work closely with our sexton Sam Reed to avoid disturbance or damage to the surrounding areas.
…a native oak will be replaced by the same native oak whenever appropriate and that the new tree will be planted as close to the original site as possible.
We will replant, just as we have been doing ever since the 2008 tornado. We will follow National Parks Service recommendations of one-for-one replacement. This means that a native oak will be replaced by the same native oak whenever appropriate and that the new tree will be planted as close to the original site as possible. Much has changed since these trees were originally planted, and the current site may no longer be appropriate, but we will do the best we can.
Many of our trees are very old, and life in a city is challenging. Pollution, soil compaction, disease, and mower damage are some of the challenges our trees face. The Foundation does what we can to give them the care they deserve, including soil aeration, organic nutrients, corrective pruning, and protection from lightning, but these things are expensive and our funds are very limited. Every year we try to triage the needs but there are always some that we can’t meet. This is where you could help:
Oakland has a restricted tree fund that we hope will grow and be able to provide the funds we need now and in the future. Please consider making a donation to help us save our trees. Oakland would not be the same without these old friends, their shade, and the beauty they provide.