In the years following the 2014 move of the Cotati Tree, the site where the tree was relocated was found to be deficient in proper drainage. New roots had a hard time developing in the anaerobic (oxygen-poor) soil which tended to leave the tree dependent on forming new roots within the root ball instead of the surrounding soil as intended. This left the Cotati Tree almost entirely reliant on supplemental irrigation during the summer months and gave the appearance that all was well with the tree. When the irrigation line malfunctioned in June of 2016 this caused the root ball to quickly dry out exposing the underlying root problems. In turn, the tree immediately became stressed and start dropping leaves. Neighbor Louise Santero & Arborist Tom Stapleton quickly coordinated with the rail agency SMART and a local contractor to get water on the tree via truck tenders. Had the tree gone another two weeks without water there would have been a strong chance that the tree would have been lost. As the water lines were being repaired, Arborist Tom Stapleton submitted to SMART an arborist assessment on the Cotati Tree and recommendations to correct the poor drainage problems at the site. The report recommended that drain lines be installed, existing dirt be amended with topsoil, and dirt raised to the elevation of the surrounding root ball. This hopefully would allow for improved drainage and more oxygenated soil promoting better root expansion. In August moving contractor Environmental Design was brought back in to carry out Tom's recommendations. Shortly thereafter, the work was completed which will hopefully lead to an improved outlook for the Cotati Tree.
The above picture shows the Cotati Tree with soil and drainage improvements complete. Notice how the crown of the Cotati Tree appears less dense following the drought stress it encountered. Over time hopefully, the tree will recover.
Here we can see topsoil brought in to level off the root ball.
Notice the repaired irrigation lines at the tree. The waterline that failed in June 2016 was near the train station platform.
The Cotati Tree in the background of the Cotati Train Station’s northbound platform.