Tree ‘ungirdling’ work en masse


As the sycamore trees planted 30 years ago on the Transit Mall have grown, the Property-Based Improvement District is creating larger openings at sidewalk level to accommodate their trunks and keep the trees healthy.

Between October and December, 50 trees were “ungirdled” along the First and Second streets Transit mall adjacent to the light rail tracks.  Another 57 trees with pinched trunks were freed on Market, Santa Clara, Post and Third streets by removing grates at the trees’ base. 

The process for enlarging the tree openings on the Transit Mall:

  • The four-inch granite tiles need to be saw-cut and removed.  
  • Underneath is a half inch thick steel brace around the tree well that requires a torch to cut out. 
  • The tree well is filled with decomposed granite and pressed. 

All this work must be carefully coordinated when performed next to the light rail tracks.