Heritage Oak Falls

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Heritage Oak Falls
Gary Jensen spent the day with a chain saw to clear a path for the residents until the tree can be professionally removed. The photo shows the bridge that withstood the impact.
At 2 a.m. Thursday, April 14, a loud crack and bump awakened Bonnell neighbors. By morning light they saw that half of a 300-year-old California Coast Live Oak had fallen into the back yard of the Jensen property on Old Topanga Canyon Road, straddling the creek between it and a neighbor’s back yard. Damage was mostly to fencing, a mimosa tree that took the brunt of the fall, and items in the yard. Two oak trees and a Western Sycamore close to Old Canyon Road, were registered by previous owners Stan and Mary Cepin and certified in July 1965 by the Topanga-Las Virgenes Soil Conservation District. The family named one tree Big Mike when their son, the youngest of six girls, was born.

The second oak was appropriately named “Sersum Corda,” Latin meaning “Something Inspiriting.”

The plaques identify them as “California Coast Live Oaks (Quercus Agrifolia): Two oaks with a [combined] circumference of 17 feet, 1 inch at base. No 57: Largest tree circumference is 8 feet, 9 inches. No. 59: Circumference: 9 feet, 8 inches.”

Four years ago, one of them fell across an empty lot towards Bonnell Drive, again, causing only minor damage to a fence and a street sign.

No. 58 was a Western Sycamore (Platanus Racemosa) named “‘Patriarch,’ Circumference: 12 feet, 4 inches,” that fell across Old Canyon Road in 1991, blocking traffic for a day, said Gary Jensen. Its progeny grows in its place today.

“The oak moved the bridge a little, but no damage,” said Jensen. Pointing to two charred solid redwood beams that support it, “They were recovered from the Sea Lion restaurant (now Dukes), when it burned in 1964.
“Want some wood? Call me,” said Jensen, (310) 455-2463.
A 300-year-old Coast Live Oak, certified in 1965, fell in the back yard of the Jensen property, across the creek, and into the back yard of a neighbor, barely missing the two houses.
The Canyon Chronicle

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