Tumwater deliberates nomination of century-old walnut tree


The Tumwater Tree Board met yesterday, August 8, to consider nominating a century-old walnut tree growing in the city for designation as a Heritage Tree.

The board discussed a nomination submitted through the online form by community member Christina Randazzo about the tree located at 420 W D Street SW, estimated to be about 100 years old.

“It sits on a homestead property with a house that was built in 1894. The tree is a walnut tree and still produces nuts, when squirrels don't get them all,” landowner Randazzo shared.

According to the City’s website, Heritage Trees “have historical significance, by virtue of age, association to a historical structure, district, person or event, rare or unique species, or significant stand (grove), and therefore provided with special protections.”

Heritage Trees are also assessed using four categories–

  • Historical (has an association with a noted citizen or historical event
  • Specimen (age, size, health, and quality factors),
  • Rrarity(one or very few of a kind), or
  • Significant grove (outstanding rows or groups of trees that impact the city’s landscape).

Commissioner Michael Jackson, however, raised concerns about the reliability of the details submitted through the online form, stating that photos are not enough to prove the legitimacy of the tree’s age and there is a need for an arborist, a specialist in the care and maintenance of trees to examine it in person.

“I would propose that we have our consulting arborist weigh in on the age of trees before they get posted to the web page,” Jackson stated. “I'm just going by the photo, so it could be very deceiving, but it sure doesn't look to be the age that was mentioned in the nomination.

“I guess what I'm proposing is that we have the city's arborists look at these trees and wait before we approve them or nominate them so that some of this information can be verified,” he added.

Chairperson Trent Grantham seconded the concern, reassuring the board of the additional steps that they will take to improve the process of nomination, selection, and approval of heritage trees.

“We will look and see if maybe some would be interested in sending out the urban forester between the trees to ensure their species and age as noted, and then after that information, we can move forward with the nomination whether we approve and send it to the council,” he chimed.

Applications submitted for consideration by the Tree Board are then forwarded as a recommendation to the City Council for final action.


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  • BobJacobs

    From the photo, this looks more like a horse chestnut than a walnut.

    And if it is, in fact, a walnut, the city should find out what kind of walnut. English walnuts are commonly planted in this area. But so are black walnuts. Both very tasty, but very different.

    Bob Jacobs

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this

  • Cobbnaustic

    They should make the tree mayor, it would probably be more productive.

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this

  • FirstOtter

    Is Commissioner Jackson an arborist? Or even a biologist? Of course you can't tell the age of a tree by looking at the canopy. Duh. "It sure doesn't look to be the age" he says. Does he understand that nut trees like oaks and walnuts take a decade to just get a root system established? Does he understand that once a magnificent tree like this is mature, it can live for over 600 years? I doubt it he knows this or even cares. This is just the Commissioner's obstruction, drawing attention to himself. It's eyewash, his way of making it look as if he's proactive. Or worse, he's a developer who wants that property to put up another warehouse. Who cares if it's a ten year old tree or a hundred year old tree? It's a beautiful tree, it's not interfering with anything, and, at the rate that Tumwater is developing, soon there will be NO trees.

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this

  • MyraDavis

    I am not an arborist but that doesn't look anything like a walnut tree to me.

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this


    Indeed this tree then should be inspected by a certified arborist. I can also say from my personal experience that black walnuts, though somewhat time-consuming and definitely difficult to process, these nuts roasted in the shell are the tastiest I've ever experienced!

    Wednesday, August 10 Report this