There is a little less shade to be had at Washington Manor Park these days – the city’s Public Works department chopped down six poplar trees last week.
A handful of other poplars in the same grove in the northwest corner of the park were chopped down last year, bringing the total of trees removed to a dozen,
The decades-old trees got the ax because they were causing damage to the nearby tennis courts, according to Debbie Pollart, San Leandro’s Public Works director.
The courts have had to be repaired three times because the trees’ roots kept pushing up the asphalt. Pollart said that led to unsafe conditions at the tennis courts and someone could have tripped and gotten hurt, so the trees had to go.
When the swimming pool was built at Manor Park, a root barrier between the courts and the trees was installed, but it has not been very effective and the problems continued, Pollart said.
So now, the Public Works crew is waiting to see that all the roots still attached to the poplar stumps are dead, and when they are, the stumps will be removed and the area will be re-landscaped.
“It’s a shame, because I remember my kids playing hide and seek in the trees,” said Gale Hernandez, who was walking her dog at Manor Park on Monday afternoon.
Pollart says it couldn’t be helped, but the good news is that over the past five years, over 40 new trees have been planted at Manor Park.