Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Venerable Tree April 17, 2010

Out for a stroll the other morning, I spied an unusual traffic mediation on one corner:

Tree protection

I had come from the other side of the street, and didn’t notice at first that the mini bollards were to protect a massive specimen tree. Huh, the city getting involved to protect a tree from getting bonked into by negligent motorists? Must be a special one…

Then I saw the plaque:

Scarlet Oak Heritage Tree Sign

I had heard about Seattle’s Heritage Tree Program, initiated by Plant Amnesty and now co-run by the City of Seattle. But I don’t know that I had ever seen one if its beneficiaries/honorees before.

As you can see from the sign, the Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) is not native to the Pacific Northwest, but this particular tree has thrived in our climate. I hope that future generations of Seattle residents continue to protect and enjoy it. If all of our parking strip street trees lived so long, we would be the greenest city around!

Scarlet Oak trunk

Scarlet Oak reaching up

Scarlet Oak from down the sidewalk

As all gardeners know, every day is Earth Day. But I hope you have/had a happy one today anyway!

(I should add, after seeing some of the comments, that it’s true that this is probably this tree’s least showy season, and that no photo can truly capture its magnificence, but I thought that its massive arm-like branches and immense trunk were still impressive enough to show. Great idea to go back when it’s leafed out and again in the fall to see the scarlet leaves. I will try to remember to do so!)


10 Responses to “Venerable Tree”

  1. What a magnificent, stately old tree. I love your city for recognizing its value. Thanks for the photos. None could truly do it justice, I’m sure, but your come close.

  2. Great find Karen! Please do show us another photo when it is all leafed out later in the season!

  3. Wow! What a magnificent tree Karen! I know it feels incredible to stand beneath a tree like this. Love you last photo especially!

  4. Megan Says:

    There’s nothing like a big mature tree. I’d love to see those scarlet leaves in the fall, if you happen by again at the right time.

  5. Grace Says:

    I love that municipalities are involved with protecting our trees and this one is definitely worthy ! My only suggestion would be for them to enlist the services of an arborist to guess-timate the age of the tree and include that on the plaque. I’m always curious about these things, often to my own detriment.

    Great walk-by photos, as usual Karen. I look forward to seeing this tree’s seasonal changes.

  6. Jordan Says:

    Those are some good pictures, especially the 1 up into the branches. Tell me again which camera you have. I’m so dissatisfied with mine. But I feel completely overwhelmed by all of the different cameras out there.

  7. jean Says:

    I love the picture looking up into the branches. Beautiful. There is a heritage beech close to my house that I will take you to visit one day.

  8. Georgia Says:

    I love large oaks! It’s wonderful that Seattle’s heritage tree program extended the tree’s protection zone…into the street.

  9. Bonnie Story Says:

    Magnificent! Great chance to admire to inner structure. So glad that organizations care about trees like this. The tree “belongs to the ages”!

  10. What an interesting idea…

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