The hugging tree has lost its arm.
A city crew Wednesday morning was in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Sacramento to remove the iconic, 50-foot branch from a massive elm tree that has stood on the median of T Street for decades.
The branch resembled a long arm reaching toward the ground from the tree’s base. For decades, children had climbed on the branch. This summer, Kristen Anderson and Dan Henderson, a couple who live on T Street, got married under the limb.
But then neighbors started calling the city with concerns that the branch posed a safety risk. Tim Dailey, a city arborist, said, “we have to plan for the unforeseen,” like someone bonking their heads or falling off the branch.
“It was a very, very tough decision on all of our parts,” he said.
There is a sliver of good news. Dailey said the tree has not tested positive for Dutch elm disease. Earlier this year, his office expressed concern that the tree had the nasty ailment and would have to be cut down for fear that the disease would spread to other trees on the median.
For now, city crews plan to prune dead branches from the tree this fall. Dailey said the tree will survive at least one more year.
“We’re doing everything we can to save the tree,” he said.
Nicknamed the “hugging tree” and the “elbow tree” by Elmhurst residents, the tree is probably close to 100 years old, Dailey said. In a neighborhood marked by its grand median, the tree has stood as an enduring monument.