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STANFORD -- A 20-foot-tall oak tree is set to be transplanted from the Stanford Research Park to a spot where it will stand guard over the Stanford Family Mausoleum.
Weather permitting, the tree, which is about 50 years old, will be moved on Thursday, Jan. 13, according to Stanford grounds manager Herb Fong.
It is intended to replace the approximately 300-year-old giant coast live oak next to which the Stanfords built their tomb in the 1890s. That tree - one of the most spectacular oaks on campus - was removed Aug. 30 after it slowly died from bacterial diseases cryptocline and diplodia.
Fong earlier had planned to install a boxed nursery specimen at the mausoleum, but the 12-inch diameter tree became available from a site on Porter Drive. The tree must be removed because it is on the Hetch-Hetchy right-of-way, and San Francisco Water Department officials fear damage to their underground pipes.
Transplanting oaks is difficult, but Fong said he expects the tree to have a "little better than 50-50 chance of survival." Winter is the best time to tackle the job, he said, because the roots will have time to begin rejuvenating before the weather turns hot.
Fong said he would provide supplemental irrigation during spring and summer. It should be apparent this summer, he said, if the transplant is successful.
The new mausoleum guardian is somewhat odd looking, Fong said, because it was growing as a multi-leader tree. A major side trunk measuring almost 10 inches in diameter recently was removed. New branches eventually will grow and fill in the sparse areas, he predicted.
The tree will be placed about 10 feet closer to the mausoleum than its predecessor. The tree will be removed from the research park beginning around 9 a.m, and may arrive at the mausoleum around 10 a.m. The operation will be postponed if it is raining or if the ground is too wet. The work will be performed by A- Z Tree Co.
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