Redwood Tree Removal Now on Hold

Monday, March 9, 2015

Recently, the six redwood trees on the former Shell station property at College and Claremont were individually red-tagged for assessment as to whether each tree should be removed. Many neighbors and College Avenue shoppers have expressed concern and dismay that Rockridge may be losing a valued community asset, especially in a location that is otherwise, for pedestrians, a bleak sea of asphalt and concrete.

Oakland city tree removal ordinances are strict, and redwoods are one of four native species that have extra protection in the ordinances. Removal permits are generally granted only when trees pose a hazard to people and/or structures. Redwood roots grow close to the ground surface in a thick web 20 or more feet in diameter from the trunk. Roots can be quite large.

When the Shell station redwoods were planted, no thought was given to how close they would be to the adjacent building, and over about 30 years, roots have spread under the structure and could compromise its wall and foundation. Because of the extensive pavement required by the Shell station, these redwoods had very little open ground around them and are starved for moisture. The tree closest to College Avenue is especially impacted. Redwoods need room to be redwoods. These six are good trees in a bad location Ð too big to move, and with structure and growth habits that could jeopardize the building next door.

The community comment period for this permit ended the week of February 16. Meanwhile, the property owner has put the tree permit on hold for a year.

Although the permit is on hold, the owner is proceeding with soil testing Ð a necessary step toward developing the property. For the present, the redwoods will stay.
- From information provided by Oakland Public Works Tree Services department and the department spokesperson.