Removal begins of century-old eucalyptus tree in Pleasanton

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of Pleasanton has started removing a century-old tree from Lions Wayside Park in downtown, despite the objection by some residents who don't believe the tree needs to go.

The rev of chainsaws early Wednesday morning signaled the end is near for the massive eucalyptus tree believed to be the oldest and largest in Pleasanton.

Droneview 7 shows the massive scale of the tree towering over homes and businesses, estimated between 125 and 150 years old.

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Protestors showed up Tuesday morning at Pleasanton's Lions Wayside Park to try and block the removal of a eucalyptus tree, thought to be the oldest and largest in the city. Officials say the tree is decaying with fungus and poses a hazard to the public.

The city said the tree has incurable fungus and it must be taken down before a rotting branch falls and hurts someone.

An arborist from nearby Castro Valley said the tree at Lions Wayside Park is one of the largest he's ever seen, aside from large redwood trees along the coast.

"It's better to have a scientist out here checking out the internal workings to see if there's a hollow spot or cavity in there," Robert Brame said, "but I don't think this thing is going to die anytime soon, it could probably go another 500 years."

The work is a slow and steady process and started shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday. By 11 a.m. crews appeared to have taken a break, with much of the tree now bare.

Crews spent hours carefully dicing up the tree brand by branch. As limbs fell to the grown they are fed into a chipper - a painful process for some neighbors to take in.

"I feel like major surgery - heart surgery. They're just taking out the heart of Pleasanton," said Letitia Chigoveanyika, a Pleasanton resident of seven years.

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At least one person was hurt after a large tree limb fell at San Francisco's Washington Square Park on Tuesday.

Several Pleasanton residents refused to let the issue just fall by the wayside Tuesday, protesting the tree's removal from the park.

Now the work is in full swing as onlookers young and old say goodbye to a cherished local landmark.

"When people come to visit me I show them that tree first. Look at that tree, it's like five fingers on a hand, like five trees in one," said Chigoveanyika.

Work on the tree is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

A portion of the tree will be kept for historical purposes and put on display at nearby Alviso Adobe Park, according to the city spokeswoman.
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