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January 26, 1998

Front Page

Pair of downtown trees city's first Heritage trees


Photo courtesy of City of Woodinville

This photo of the Spanish Chestnut tree growing near the intersection of N.E. 175th St. and 140th Ave. N.E. illustrates it form and structure, part of the reason it was recognized as a Heritage Tree recently.

     by Andrew Walgamott
   WOODINVILLE--A pair of deciduous trees in downtown Woodinville went into the history books at last week's City Council meeting as the first two trees in the city officially recognized as Heritage Trees. As part of the Woodinville Tree Board's Heritage Tree Program, an approximately 60-foot tall Little Leaf Linden growing at Molbak's was the first tree to be recognized by the council, and a Spanish Chestnut at Napa Auto Parts was the second. Laina Molbak accepted the honoring of the Linden tree and expressed gratitude on behalf of the Molbak's family.
   The Linden is estimated to be 100 years old based on the girth of its trunk. Near the southeast corner of the nursery's parking lot, the tree is thought to be the largest of its kind in the Seattle area. The four-trunked tree looks like a stouter, taller version of a weeping willow. Molbak said that at one time employees and customers used to picnic under the broad spread of its arms. A sizable limb broke on the tree's southside in July, 1992, but is now trussed up by a cable system that has withstood windstorms since, according to Peggy Campbell of Molbak's. Campbell, who nominated the tree, called it a "very, very healthy tree."
   Lindens, Tilia cordata, are native to Germany and are known for their fragrant flowers which bloom around the Fourth of July, as well as their leaves which turn bright yellow in the fall months. Robert Adair, owner of Napa, said he appreciated his Spanish Chestnut tree being recognized. It stands between Napa and Taco Time. The tree is described as "a large, vigorous specimen with an excellent structure, full and well-balanced canopy," and may be the only one of its stature in town. "It's winter silhouette is as spectacular as its summer foliage cover," Molly Beck, Tree Board member said. Now, the chestnut, craggy, full of angles and long, muscular limbs, looks like a tree Charles M. Russell might have sculpted. Its fallen leaves, in the dead of winter, are the color of tanned deer hide. Broken concrete curbing surrounds its four to five-foot diameter base.
   Spanish Chestnuts, Castanea sativa, are native to southern Europe, north Africa and western Asia and is sometimes called a Eurasian Chestnut. In the Mediterranean region, chestnuts grow to heights of 130 feet. The Adair's may be 50-feet tall. Beck said the tree may be 90 to 100-years-old. For the community to learn more about these trees, the city may install 6-inch by 12-inch cast aluminum plaques near the trees. "People want to know what these trees are. They stop and read plaques like that," said Pam Coney, another member of the Tree Board.
   The Heritage Tree Program was established by the Tree Board to promote the planting and care of trees in the city as well as draw attention to unique examples of trees. Beck hopes that as people hear about the first two Heritage Trees, more nominations will come in. Heritage Tree applications are available at City Hall. Nominations are open to everyone.