David Kling had no idea that the two large Canary Island Date Palms in his front yard were in such demand until he got a letter offering up to $1,500 each for them.
The offer came from a tree procurer who is among several scouring the state for mature palms for the approach to the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge project.
Kling’s trees passed a health examination which included lab tests. He bought the house just four months ago and doesn’t have the sentimental attachment to the trees that many homeowners have.
“I love the look of the trees, but I don’t love the maintenance that they require,” said Kling, who worries about the 25-foot palms reaching over his roof and rain gutters.
One of the trees is also encroaching on his foundation. Selling the trees solves his problems.
“It’s a win for them and it’s a win for me,” said Kling.
His neighbor across the street is a palm tree lover, with over a dozen smaller specimens in his back yard. He said older palm trees that are four feet in diameter like Kling’s are priceless, although he admits that he would be tempted.
“I guess I might take the three grand and plant a new one, maybe,” said Tavarez.
Kling said he committed to selling one of his trees and will probably let the other one go, but not because of the money. Instead, he wanted to be part of the new bridge.
“We really weren’t interested, but when we found out they were going on the Bay Bridge, that sealed the deal for us because it’s such historic thing and to be a part of that it feels really good to be part of something that’s going to be around for so long,” said Kling.
About 88 mature trees are needed for installation near the toll plaza. Tree procurer Dave McDaniel says only a third have been procured because the trees have to be healthy and the right size. Kling’s trees are the right size for transport, between 20 and 30 feet high.
You can send in a picture of your Canary Island Date Palm to McKenzie at his website if you think your tree might qualify at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call him at 909-528-2408.
Meanwhile, Kling already speaks of his trees with pride.
“They will be the first ones installed at the toll plaza, so I guess when you cross the new Oakland span of the Bay Bridge, these will be the first trees you’ll see,” said Kling as he smiled.