100 Year Old Tree at OB Elementary Falls Victim to El Nino Winds

by on February 2, 2016 · 6 comments

in Education, Energy, Environment, Media, Ocean Beach

OB Damage 2-2-16 ElemSchool 2

Screen captures from video coverage by Fox5.

A one-hundred year old tree in the courtyard of OB Elementary School was a victim of the strong El Nino winds that hit Ocean Beach and San Diego on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 31st and Feb. 1st.

OB Damage 2-2-16 ElemSchoolFox5 covered the tragedy and this is part of their report:

“It’s so sad. The kids are just so sad to see it go….It’s part of our school, a part of our tradition,” said 2nd grade teacher Angela Wunder, who has been teaching at the school for decades.

The lead landscaper for San Diego Unified School District, Matt Peterson, visited 14 schools Monday and says the tree crash at Ocean Beach Elementary was the worst damage he’s seen so far.

“The tree completely uprooted from the bottom. It didn’t bust from the base. The roots completely came up and it uprooted from the soil,” said Peterson.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Tracy February 2, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Why didn’t they try to save it!!?? So sad that most people just want a quick fix for everything :-/


Joi February 2, 2016 at 9:51 pm

Hi Kelly. We couldn’t save it, the roots had dry rot. Probably the drought didn’t help. But I hear the principal has requested to keep some of the wood to use around the school. :)


Dave February 2, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Also curious, if the root structure was still intact (though I’ve got to wonder how healthy it was), was there any chance to save the tree?


Dave February 2, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Waited a while to post that comment and it went through just fine – awesome, Frank & Patty!


Judy Swink February 4, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I’m curious how Talbot St. got into this story. The school is on Santa Monica between Ebers and Froude.

As for why it fell, there are probably several factors but, if it was historically irrigated, the root system would have remained shallow. Additionally (in addition to the issue of root rot – see previous sentence), thoroughly saturated soil often cannot sustain a large, heavy tree in the kind of high winds we experienced. My parents’ home lost a 40-yr. old Pecan tree (back east) during the second of two back-to-back, which featured heavy rains, due to soil saturation.

According to the Weather Service, gusts, at up to 60 mph, were only a few mph less than a hurricane force (64 mph). If the tree had been “laced out”, perhaps it would have survived although with root rot, that’s an open question.


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2016 at 3:22 pm

The TV story had just covered the Talbot St tree.


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