Historic tree removed

A crew from Tope's Tree Service work on removing a pepper tree that was planted in 1864 at 119 East Beach St. in Watsonville. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — One of the oldest documented living things in Watsonville met its end last week to the buzz of a handful of chainsaws.

A pepper tree, which was planted in 1864 and has remained in its original location ever since at 119 East Beach St., was situated at the edge of the sidewalk in the front lawn of attorneys office of Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna.

The tree had a plaque built into its trunk, dedicated to the first president of the Pajaro Valley Historical Association.

A crew from Tope’s Tree Service spent a good part of the day on Oct. 29 lopping the gnarled historic tree into bite-sized pieces and stuffing them into a king-size wood chipper. Over the day passersby stopped to watch the work taking place.

According to Lou Arbanas of PVHA, the property’s current owners worried about the tree’s stability after a large limb broke off recently. Indeed, as the tree crew tore into the tree, large sections of decay and rot became evident.

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