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STUDY OF EXISTING TREE POPULATION

by John Leone, Arborist

As a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, I was called upon to summarize, inventory, and inspect many of the tree species on the subject property, including the condition, general health, and historic or heritage significance.

California Giant Sequoia

California Giant Sequoia

The site includes over 9.1 acres of peaceful forest and meditation prayer gardens. The campus has many trees and plants which are unusual to see at their present size. The site is full of gorgeous, majestic, and heritage trees which are well over 100 years old and quite a sight to experience. Some species are not seen in such a beautiful forest-like setting anywhere in the Bay Area.

Some of the original tree plantings date back to the mid 1800s, when the Mission San Jose extended to the Sisters of the Holy Family location. Some of the Cedar, Norfolk Island Pines, Giant Sequoias, Cypress, Maidenhair trees, and Coast Redwoods are among the largest seen anywhere in the Fremont area. (Click here to see album of Arbor Day)

Ginkgo Tree

Ginkgo Tree

Many species are not common at the size in which they exist at the Holy Family Sisters property. An example would be the Atlas cedar (tree number 251), close to Mission Blvd., with a circumference of 12 feet at 4.5 feet above grade. Additionally, there are many Norfolk Island Pines over 40 inches in diameter, as well as a Giant Sequoia which is well over 56 inches in diameter. One Norfolk Island pine is located close to the main entrance of the Motherhouse and next to the main road heading into the property. This tree is number 265 on the tree inventory and is a very impressive, majestic tree which stands 80 to 100 feet tall. This tree is in almost perfect condition.

Another example of a large, interesting specimen is the enormous California Bay Laurel Tree, which is located almost in the center of the property. This tree is one of the largest California Bay trees I have seen.

Bay Laurel Tree Top

Bay Laurel Tree Top

Generally, most of the species (approx. 86%), are in very good to excellent condition, with good structure and exhibiting healthy foliage. Some of trees do not appear to be in the best of health for various reasons, such as overcrowding, poor pruning over the years, deficiencies of some kind, or physical damage from mechanical or natural causes.

The property is a treasure of spectacular tree species, an asset to our community and a place to be preserved for generations to come. It is literally a place of living history with rare and popular tree species growing at their full potential.

Another element found at the property is an abundance of interesting bird species such as hawks, woodpeckers, owls, crows, and turkey vultures making their home high in the trees.

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