Sunday, March 29, 2015

Russell Boulevard losing many stately old walnut trees

From page A1 | August 18, 2013 |

A work crew cuts down a black walnut tree on Russell Boulevard on Friday. Many of the cities trees are being cut down because they have thousand cankers disease. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Many of the landmark trees that line Russell Boulevard to the west of Davis are being cut, due to a fungus known as thousand cankers disease that is killing black walnut trees across many western states.

“It is sad to see this happen, but it’s really inevitable,” said Eldridge Moores, an emeritus professor in the UC Davis geology department who has lived in a house facing Russell Boulevard since 1975. Moores has long appreciated the mature walnut trees:  not only are they beautiful, they also provided shade for the bike path that leads to town. “And I’ve always looked on them as an insurance policy against errant drivers,” Moores added.

But Moores said that as some of the old walnut trees have become diseased and frail in the last few years, “they’ve started dropping limbs, sometimes 10 inches in diameter. We had one come down just a couple of weeks ago.”

Moores said that some of the remaining uncut trees along Russell may look like walnuts to casual observers, but they are actually ailanthus trees (sometimes known as “Tree of Heaven”) — a species from China planted in this region longs ago, now often regarded as an invasive pest.

Keith McAleer is executive director of Tree Davis, a nonprofit that has planted many trees on Russell (and elsewhere in town) since 1992. McAlleer said that county government informed Tree Davis of plans to cut the old walnut trees, “and we recommended that an arborist assess the health of the trees. The county did hire an arborist, and most of the walnut trees (now being cut) were (already) dead — though walnuts will send up shoots from their roots indefinitely.”

McAleer said that the walnut trees along Russell within city limits “are much better cared for … there are only a handful of dead ones. Tree Davis would like to save these walnuts if possible. They are iconic, many over 120 years old.” He said that mistletoe has been a problem for years, and Tree Davis is assessing whether it is feasible to treat the surviving walnut trees for thousand cankers disease. Tree Davis is also working with neighbors in the Russell Boulevard/Patwin Road area to plant new trees replacing those now being cut — ideally “a more diverse canopy” less susceptible to a particular pest or disease.

Roger and Ann Romani have lived on Russell Boulevard for more than 50 years, in a historic home built in 1887 for Hugh LaRue, an early resident in this area. LaRue owned much of the land fronting Russell between Highway 113 and Cactus Corner (Highway 98 and Russell Boulevard). Ann Romani, a devotee of local history, said that LaRue and his sons planted many of older walnuts — at that time, the state subsidized planting trees alongside country roads, and photographs of Russell Boulevard were featured in state highway publications. Russell Boulevard became part of the Lincoln Highway — the nation’s first transcontinental highway for automobiles, designated in 1913.

Roger Romani, a professor emeritus in the plant sciences department at UCD, said that the walnuts along the county portion of Russell “have not been taken care of very well,” but added “some of the trees (in city limits) are doing exceptionally well.”



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6



    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

    Father of the bride snubbed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery







    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9





    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8