More trees to grow in shopping center

The number of trees at Stanford Shopping Center will double when a major planting program is completed this fall, according to Andy Coe, director of community relations.

The university started removing trees at the beginning of February to coincide with construction of the shopping center that is part of the ongoing Sand Hill Road project. When work is mostly completed this week, a total of 502 trees will have been removed, said Coe. At the same time, 1,215 trees ­ including some of the previously removed trees ­ will be planted and replanted around the center by fall. This will increase the overall canopy cover, he said.

Leonie Batkin, manager of property services at Stanford Management Company, said the tree removal work must be completed by the end of the month so that it doesn’t interfere with the spring nesting season for hawks and kestrels in the area. City of Palo Alto arborist Dave Dockter has worked with the university to plan the project, she said.

Non-native and native trees being removed include pines, eucalyptuses, sycamores, magnolias, birches, oaks and Monterey pines, said Batkin. In their place, Chinese hackberry, red horse chestnut, tulip, crabapple and purple-leaf plum trees will be planted.

Most of the tree work taking place at the moment is along El Camino Real; it is being done in part to prepare for the closing of the shopping center’s existing entrance on the street. In addition to the Sand Hill Road entrance that opened recently, plans include widening Quarry Road to four lanes from El Camino to Arboretum Road and installing a three-way signal at that intersection. Coe said Quarry Road will be closed in two phases from early April to mid-October. Furthermore, a 10,000-square-foot one-story retail building will be built at the corner of Quarry and El Camino.

According to Coe, the new plantings will ensure that the canopy cover for native trees will increase six times in five years and 18 times in 10 years. “These ratios far exceed the City of Palo Alto required canopy replacement ratio for native trees of three-to-one,” he said. It is also higher than the 2:1 ratio for replacement of non-native trees approved by Palo Alto voters. The tree planting program at the shopping center is part of a similar plan for all the Sand Hill Road projects, Coe added.