Cupertino Tree Tags Irk Some Residents

Tags are being placed on trees throughout the city

By Marianne Favro
|  Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013  |  Updated 6:08 AM PDT
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The city of Cupertino is tagging all its trees with green and yellow cards as a way to protect them. Marianne Favro reports.

The city of Cupertino is tagging all its trees with green and yellow cards as a way to protect them. Marianne Favro reports.

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To trim or not to trim the tree, that is the question.

Cupertino wants to make sure the answer is clear: if a tree has a green and yellow card nailed to it, it should be left alone.

The tags indicate the tree belongs to the city and a city crew will take care of it. Cupertino has put these tags on more than 4,000 city trunks and plans to eventually add the signs to all of the city's 13,000 trees.

"At first I was  surprised, they look kind of ugly on the tree," said Howard Trudeau, a 40-year Cupertino resident.

"I  think it is a waste to put a tag  on each and every tree," said Russ Satake, who noticed the tree tags.

Cupertino is placing tags on all its trees throughout the city. (Marianne Favro)
The city spent a dollar on each tag, which some consider a waste of taxpayer money.

Cupertino public works director Timm Borden said the effort is protecting the city's landscaping investment.

"We were having problems with damage to our trees so the city council asked us to make sure people know which ones are owned by the city so we did this to make sure they are identified," Borden said.

Some question whether the plastic cards, which are slightly bigger than a credit card, diminish the natural beauty of the trees. Others are concened the nails hammered into trunks will damage the trees the city is trying to protect.

"The nails used are the same ones used in arboretums," Borden said. "They are not pounded all the way so the tree can grow around them and there is no damage to the tree."

 JIm Bridges bikes through Cupertino almost every day and sees no problem with the new tags.

"I think its nice to protect the trees, they look fine to me," Bridges said.

The tags can even be educational. They have a special code that enables you to use your smart phone to find out the type of tree and when city crews will do maintenance on it. Despite the high-tech link, some neighbors still feel the best way to maintain the trees is to leave them alone.

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