Goodbye old pepper

New maple tree
Our neighborhood sadly said goodbye to what was probably its oldest tree this month. Despite regular arborist care, the California Pepper split in half on 30 March. It had lived 81 years (1935-2016), and measured at least 162 inches in circumference and 51.59 inches in diameter. When it fell, my son Paul said that the light into his room got noticeably brighter.  The old pepper was wet enough inside to be home to a Aneides lugubris, the Arboreal salamander, a species of climbing salamander native to California. The cut wood pieces were pink-orange and were quickly picked up by local wood workers.

Neighbors Gary and Linda hired more arborists to try to save what was left but an ultrasound test said that the remaining trunk could not survive and might fall on their house. This month, after four honey bee hives (and their honey) were carefully relocated, the rest of the tree came down and was replaced by a hopeful new Autumn Blaze Maple tree.

September 2014 – Thanks to Google Maps!

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose Sep 2014

March 2016

31 March 2016 California Pepper tree fallen San Jose CA

31 March 2016 Gary and Linda with fallen California Pepper tree San Jose CA

Salamander inside California Pepper tree San Jose CA March 2016

pink wood from California Pepper tree San Jose CA March 2016

May 2016

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree stump, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree chips, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Linda and Gary with new maple tree

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson – with thanks to Google Maps for the 2014 image

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