This tree was a literal pillar in our community of Leucadia, CA. It has been here for probably over 100 years (to be determined) overseeing the comings and goings of people from the late 1800's to today. It has weathered storms, droughts, auto crashes and myriad other events. If this tree could talk it would have innumerable stories to tell watching over the community of Leucadia. When it was young there was a dirt road going from North to South connecting Los Angeles to San Diego in this area....
Over the past 7 years we have had a horrific drought in Southern CA. When droughts occur it slowly takes a toll on even the most mature trees. The limited water supply means that the tree struggles to pull water from the ground and get it up to the leaves in the tree. This limits the production of "food" (in the form of sap) that can then travel back down the tree.
If something penetrates into the bark of the tree or infiltrates the roots of the tree the sap typically fills that holes and seals the tree from further damage (like having a natural Neosporin antiseptic and self applying bandage). Some types of fungi thrive in these conditions and can infect the interior of the tree and start to rot it from the inside out.
This was unfortunately the case with this tree.
As you can see in the photos a couple of large voids were present when the tree was cut down. Most of the Eastern side of the base of the tree was rotten and literally there were no roots underneath on the East side. Although the wood was solid as you got a few feet off the ground the base was compromised. Holding a multi ton tree on a half rotten base creates quite a dilemma. It could stand for another week, year, decade or it could fall down in a strong wind blowing in the right direction. Given that this tree was over 70 feet tall if it were to have fallen it could have taken out quite a few things depending on the direction it fell. From buildings to the West to potentially cars or a train to the East.
So sadly on March 29th, 2019 this stalwart member of our community fell to the sound of chainsaws and stumpgrinders.
Although the tree is no longer standing tall on the intersection of Leucadia Blvd and Coast Hwy 101 it will live on. A large portion of the trunk of this tree was moved to a storage lot and is being milled into various material from structural lumber to pieces of art. Hopefully this wood will find its way back into the community and live on in peoples homes and as artwork, benches, tables and other useful and beautiful items along the Coast Hwy in Leucadia and Encinitas. This will serve as a tribute to our friend that looked out for us for so many years before any of us reading this were here and after many folks in the community had already left.
Soon we will create a slice of the base of this tree that can show the tree rings denoting each of the years this tree was alive. We can see the history of the area through these rings. Droughts and flood years will be visible and we can track encinitas's history over the course of 100+ years by "reading" the rings on this tree.