Tracy palm tree headed to SF Bay Bridge
by Glenn Moore
Feb 28, 2014 | 5202 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Palm tree heading to Bay Bridge
A crane from The Landscape Center, a Riverside company, lifts a 16,000-pound Canary Islands date palm tree from Debbie Brown’s yard on Dovenshire Drive on Tuesday.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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When Debbie Brown listed her 20-year-old Canary Islands date palm tree for sale in December, she had no idea it might end up on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Brown recorded a video Tuesday as a crane tugged the nearly 25-foot-tall, 16,000-pound tree up from its place in her front yard on Dovenshire Drive, snapping the last few roots free of the soil.

“I am honored. I think it is amazing,” Brown said as the tree swung over the lawn to be lowered onto the street in front of her house. “I haven’t seen the new bridge or been over it, but I’ll make a point over to see it now.”

Brown’s tree is set to become one of about 40 palm trees near the toll plaza for the new span of the Bay Bridge. David McDaniel, who bought the tree for the project, said he had searched all across California for mature Canary Islands date palm trees.

“I need all the trees I can get,” McDaniel said. “I’ve been looking from San Diego to Sacramento.”

McDaniel said the palm trees must be a uniform size and shape, between 18 and 25 feet tall. He said he had looked at hundreds in his search for the right trees.

Brown had listed her Canary Islands date palm for sale on Craigslist in late December, when she and her husband, Gary, decided it had grown too tall and too costly to maintain.

Just a few days later, McDaniel asked Brown for a photo of the palm tree. Someone stopped by to inspect the tree, and she sold it to McDaniel for $1,200.

“We were glad someone came by and took it,” Brown said. “I’m going to miss it (but) it will live on. It’s going to be exciting to see.”

A crew from The Landscape Center, based in Riverside, arrived around 11 a.m. Tuesday to remove the tree from the yard. A smaller tree in front of the palm was trimmed to make room, and crews used a chain saw to cut the palm tree’s roots free. Shortly after 1 p.m., a crane lifted the tree onto a waiting flatbed truck, which would take it to a holding yard. The crew also filled in the hole left by the 8-ton tree’s roots.

McDaniel said the palm tree would go through soil and genetic testing and would be checked for diseases before being planted sometime in April. Brown said McDaniel promised to tell her where her palm tree ends up in the line of trees at the Bay Bridge toll plaza.

On Tuesday, McDaniel said the crew was headed to Byron next to pick up another tree, leaving him in need of 22 more palms.

Anyone who has a Canary Islands date palm tree and wants to see if it would fit into the Bay Bridge landscaping project can email a photo of the tree to McDaniel at

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or

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February 28, 2014
What a great story :)

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