A few days ago I went to Saint Francis High School to take a look at the tree that has everyone talking. I expected a big tree, but was completely surprised at the mammoth girth of the Bay Laurel Tree that stands beside the track and football field. I think it would take 10 people holding hands and hugging the tree to make a complete circle around it. It’s breathtaking to see this incredible plant. I read on the Saint Francis website that the school was founded in 1955 by the Brothers of Holy Cross and then I noticed that Wikipedia says that in the Bible the bay leaf is “often an emblem of prosperity and fame.” Did the Brothers have any idea how famous the tree and the school would someday become? After all, the school has an excellent reputation and is the considered most prestigious school in Mountain View. If you want to take a look at their famous tree, the campus is open and you can go during evenings or weekends. It’s well worth your time.
According to the Mountain View Trees website, the circumference of the tree at Saint Francis is 394 inches. Mountain View Trees is a wonderful organization of volunteers that came together to plant trees in any areas of our city that might need help, educate the public about caring for trees on their property and increase tree appreciation in our city. I like that part about increasing tree appreciation. I’ve seen them at the Farmers Market passing out pamphlets (printed on recycled paper presumably) and answering questions about trees. They have a few upcoming events planned for the spring that might be fun for the whole family:
- Feb 20- Plant Flowering Cherry Trees at “3-Corner Island”
- Mar 13-Arbor Day Celebration in Pioneer Park
- Look at their website to see 4 "tree walks" that you can go on
Go to the Mountain View Trees website for all the details on those events and to see what kinds of tree-related things they’ve been doing in our community.
Do you know how our city defines what a “Heritage Tree” is? A Heritage tree is any tree that has a trunk circumference of forty-eight inches (48") or more measured at fifty-four inches (54") above natural grade. Three species: oak, sequoia redwood and cedar are all considered “Heritage” if they have a circumference of twelve inches (12") measured at fifty-four inches (54") above natural grade. These trees are all protected by the city and can’t be removed with out approval. We wouldn’t be a beautiful as we are without all of our trees and we want to keep it that way, right? Here’s a link to the city website incase you have any questions about Heritage tree removal on your property.
And be sure to notice how much beauty trees add to Mountain View the next time you drive under the tree canopy on Loreto Street, or pass by the forest-like pockets of open space along Shoreline Blvd, or any of the many tree lined median divides on the major streets around our city. Mountain View loves trees.
Go ahead and give a tree a hug this week.