During this past year members of the Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group have read in the Piedmont Post about the City's replacing liquidambar trees on Magnolia Avenue. and the were interested to see what had been done. A good turnout of 21 walkers and one K-9 best friend assembled last Wednesday, December 11, on an over- cast, cool morning for a stroll down Magnolia Avenue to sec the work the city has done on replacing some of the liquidambar trees.
As a special guest, Nancy Kent, the City's Parks & Project Manager, joined them to answer questions about the tree replacement project. Initially the city sea removing 47 trees due to invasive roots that created an uneven walking - surface for five blocks. Many residents ex- pressed concerns and the project was scaled back to 18 trees.
As they began walking down Magnolia past Hillside Avenue, Kent described The different trees in the project. liquidambars were replaced with Chinese Pistaches trees planted under power lines. as their over- all smaller height will not require pruning by PG&E. The Pistaches have wonderful red, orange, and yellow colors in the autumn. The new trees, unlike other Pistaches previously planted in Piedmont, are a variety that does not have berries that can drop on cars.
On parts of the street where no power lines are present, Autumn Blaze maples were planted. This is a larger, more majestic tree that will capture some of the grandeur that the Liquidambers originally brought to the street. usually have a red color and also lose their leaves in the fall. Kent explained that the City pro- vides These trees for the mow strips in front of homes, and that the residents are responsible for watering them. The City provides gator bags of water that make watering more efficient.
At the corner of Magnolia and Nova, Nancy pointed out a large Liquidambar with wonderfully swirling limbs. Across the street in stark contrast was another tree that had been subjected to "bozo pruning."
After Nancy returned to her office, the walkers continued down Magnolia to Grand Avenue and turned left on Boulevard Way to find Crofton Avenue, primarily in Oakland but with a few Piedmont homes at the top. Crofton is C-shaped and reconnects with Boulevard Way. Turning right on Boulevard they went to Warfield Avenue where they saw a wonderfully unique, homemade book sharing box whose exterior was covered with copper pennies and whose top was made from old, metal license plates - something you see only by walking Piedmont streets. From Warfield they went to the Five W's, a 5-way intersection with Wildwood, Winsor and Warfield Avenue. One block further they passed Wild. wood wood School and instead of entering Piedmont Park, some chose to go up Requa Avenue to Hazel Lane and its hidden path to Guilford Road and the top of Piedmont Park. Some walked through the park. And all reconnected at the Exedra, their original starting point. It was a 2 1/2 mile walk in just over a 90 minutes in a light rain.