Yes and No

Protest beside the Wheeler Oak, UC Berkeley | © Eric Broder Van Dyke | Dreamstime.com

Protest beside the Wheeler Oak, UC Berkeley | © Eric Broder Van Dyke | Dreamstime.com

In our last posting two days ago, we asked if the color would survive this past week’s moisture.  The answer is “Yes and No.”

Much of the turned color across California was blown from branches, though pockets of bright color remain in areas where trees had not fully turned.  One of them, color spotter Sandy Steinman reports, is Berkeley, where beautiful color is seen within the East Bay city’s urban forest.

The City of Berkeley is so devoted to trees, that there’s a city department devoted to forestry.  That department reports Berkeley plants over 600 trees a year.  Those trees provide both ambience and financial benefits.  A 2005 report estimated that they provide approximately $3.5 million in annual benefits to the community, including: shade that reduces the need for air conditioning and electrical use, improved air quality, reduced costs of storm water runoff, and improved property values.

The University of California at Berkeley shares its city’s passion for trees, as much as its students do protesting perceived wrongs.  The old expression, “Meet me at the Wheeler Oak,” has been used as a hookup line by students, since the campus was founded.  In front of Sproul Hall (seen above), this venerable Coast Live Oak stood until it grew ancient and sickly, to be replaced by a younger oak.  An online guide to campus trees provides the background and directions to UC Berkeley’s most interesting trees, including artistic Italian Stone Pine, California Buckeye, majestic London Plane Tree and Blue Gum Eucalyptus that are believed to be the tallest stand of hardwood trees in North America.

With winds predicted to gust to 70 mph across Northern California today, much of the remaining color along Berkeley’s boulevards is likely to be blown away, though that, too, will provide quite a show.