Oak takes top spot among trees

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Courtesy of Janis Andrews
Janis Andrews’ oak measures 34 feet.

The Town Crier and GreenTown Los Altos tallied 40 entries in their Big Tree event, with 15 oaks, 20 evergreens and five wild cards drawing letters of tribute from their human hosts.

GreenTown volunteers reached out to the top finalists with congratulations and measurement validation and brought back final results.

The backyard (and front yard and side yard) trees provided shade, climbing and family stories for the residents who wrote to us with their girth measurements.

Most vast at 34 feet, Janis Andrews and Bill Hilliard’s oak tree took the grand title as well as largest in the oak category, while a category-tying duo of 23-foot-wide giant redwoods towering over the homes of Richard and Susan Moss and Janice Newman led the evergreen division. If you have trouble imagining what an oak tree looks like once it bulges 34 feet in width, visit for an album of these behemoths in the bark.

Mildred Chackerian’s pepper tree, 17 feet, proved the largest in the “not an oak or an evergreen” category, which also drew our first entrant in the contest entirely, Laura Bleakley’s bay laurel, which measured at 16 feet around.

Other notable oaks abided with Gene Feroglia (30 feet), Satarupa Bose and family (28 feet) and Richard and Jennie Black (25 feet). Redwoods dominated the heady upper reaches of the evergreen category, with Kathy Hanson and Steve Geisheker (21 feet), Tom and Laurel Olsen (21 feet), John and Bettina Epp (20 feet, 10 inches) and Durga Kalavagunta and family (20 feet, 8 inches) all also hosting giants.

Learning how to measure trees on this scale became family and neighborhood-wide efforts in a few instances, and the stories that emerged along the way traced how seedlings grew up across generations.

What other aspects of our community might have an overlooked story worth exploring? We’re taking ideas for the next great neighborhood investigation. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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