Quercus lobata | Palo Alto
A huge, old Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) at the Arastradero Preserve outside Palo Alto, CA, and a short distance from the Dish at Stanford. Note the people on the left side of the photo for scale. From dendrochronology work done on the Dish at Stanford in the 1980s, it can be assumed that this tree is a minimum of 200 years old, and a potential maximum of 350 years, the age of the oldest oaks sampled on the Dish. In the absence of deer, this Valley Oak would be growing to the ground, but the deer have munched away the lowest 6 feet or so of the leaves. Without pruning, most oaks will grow their canopies right to the ground, as can be seen with many of the oak in the Shields Grove in Davis, CA.