Ancient oak tree comes back to life
An ancient coast live oak on Serra Street that was cut down to a stump in the summer of 2008, after it had collapsed branch by giant branch, has come back to life.
In recent years, two sturdy new stems have sprouted from the root system of the tree, variously known as the Bicentennial Oak, the Alumni Oak and the Pioneer Oak.
The tree, which is now about 16 feet tall, lives at the intersection of Serra Mall and Lasuen Mall, on the grounds of Lathrop Library.
MAX PINEDO, supervising arborist at Stanford, said the tree had the perfect soil and growing conditions to make a comeback. It sprouted of its own accord, without human intervention, and needs no assistance – such as watering – to continue growing, he said.
“It seems that these old trees don’t want to die,” Pinedo mused during a recent visit to the site. “It’s like the tree is saying, ‘Just leave me alone and I’ll come back.'”
Pointing to the vibrant green of its 15-foot-wide canopy, he said the tree is growing well.
“This will be a sizable tree one day,” said Pinedo, adding that university arborists will trim the tree in coming years to ensure it has a good structure.
In 1987, the National Arborist Association and the International Society of Arboriculture placed a plaque at the tree’s base that said the prize oak is believed to have been around at the time of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.
The plaque can be found near an old retaining wall that still serves as a bench for visitors.