A sad farewell to Stone Garden’s black acacia

We knew there was a problem when a huge tree limb crashed to the ground at LEAF’s C.R. Stone Garden in late October. Fortunately, none of the gardeners were working in that area at the time.

We brought in a consulting arborist to assess the damage. When he climbed up to inspect the area where the broken limb and three other large limbs were attached, he discovered there was enough decay in the pocket to create a perfect home for a tomato seedling to grow! 

Surprise! A tomato was growing in a pocket of decay between one of the branches and the trunk.

The arborist reported moderate risk of more falling limbs. The risk would increase with time and could possibly compromise the Stone Garden trailer and greenhouse and also the nearby Mission Valley Veterinary Clinic. The Stone Garden manager was especially concerned for the safety of the many people who volunteer and frequent the garden, so the heartbreaking decision was made to take down the tree. The tree was felled on October 25th.

Black acacias have become somewhat invasive in this area, where they grow well and get quite large. However, they are relatively short-lived at 40-60 years. This species is native to Southern Australia, where it’s grown as timber. The wood of acacias is close-grained and the tree rings are beautifully colored. The main trunk was felled as one big piece so the trunk can be milled into slabs for furniture. Also, the big branches were cut into 18-inch sections and smaller branches chipped for mulch. It’s fitting that the tree will have a second life at the Stone Garden. 

The beautifully colored rings of the black acacia

The arborist advised LEAF that other large trees at the site, a stone pine and two Canary Island palms, also need pruning. Hiring arborists to prune our trees was unplanned and a significant expense. LEAF will be seeking funding to do that.

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