OAKLAND -- Got palm trees? If the answer is yes, a landscape subcontractor for the eastern replacement span of the Bay Bridge is looking to take one or more off your hands.
Dave McDaniel with I Buy Palms is scouring the state for Canary Island Date Palms that will line the Oakland approach to the new bridge.
McDaniel leaves no frond unturned.
He tweets out pleas for palms via @DaveMcDaniel1. He runs classified ads. He even published a Craigslist ad: "Let your tree be a part of this historic project!"
Send a picture of your tree to IBuyPalms@gmail.com, and McDaniel might make you an offer of $1,000 to $1,500 per tree.
A willing seller has already popped up in Suisun City. San Jose has two and Santa Clara County is offering three.
Suisun City homeowner David Kling told the Vallejo Times-Herald his family was pleased to envision their tree as part of the new Bay Bridge.
"I doubt they're going to give us a plaque with our names on it or anything," Kling told the paper. "We'll get a couple thousand bucks."
Chosen for their similarity to the tall, slender light poles on the new $6.4 billion span, a contractor will in August plant a dozen of the palms in graduating heights up to 25 feet on the Oakland shore between the east and westbound side-by-side approaches. Each tree will cost $15,000 to purchase, transplant and maintain for three years.
Caltrans has hired a consulting certified arborist to oversee the selection and care of the disease-prone palms. A nasty fungus has killed palms along the Embarcadero in San Francisco and throughout California and the country in recent years.
"We were well aware with the issues associated with disease when we chose this palm, and the key is to make sure you select disease-free trees and then use good maintenance practices to avoid transferring the pathogens," said Caltrans landscape architect Clive Endress. "We are confident we will be able to accomplish it."
After the bridge opens to traffic later this year and the approach construction is wrapped up, the contractor will plant up to 54 additional palms on the span's western side. Companion plants include Mediterranean fan palms, manzanita, coyote brush, iris, wax myrtle and New Zealand flax.
The trees are part of much larger contract with Colorado-based Flatiron West to build the final freeway connection structures to the new eastern span on the Oakland end.
The bridge construction team will spend $106 million building this segment between the toll plaza and the skyway, which includes the adjacent bike and pedestrian path along with the landscaping.
Shirley Schofield of the San Jose Mercury News and Jessica A. York of the (Vallejo) Times-Herald contributed to this story. Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773, email@example.com, politicswithlisav.blogspot.com or Twitter.com/lvorderbrueggen.