Upper school maintenance removes teetering branch from tree outside Dobbins Hall


Michelle Wei

A Commercial Tree Care truck is stands in front of the tree outside Dobbins as students and maintenance faculty walk around yellow caution tape around the truck. Yellow caution tape was placed around the tree in Dobbins to ensure the safety of faculty and students during the branch removal.

by Ananya Sriram, Asst. News Editor

The upper school campus maintenance staff oversaw the removal of an unsteady branch near the top of the largest tree in front of Dobbins Hall for one hour on Tuesday after school.

By barricading the main steps to enter the building with yellow caution tape, the maintenance staff and administration permitted students and faculty to only enter Dobbins via a separate side ramp or through the doors behind the building to ensure the safety of students and faculty.

According to upper school maintenance director JR DelAlto, the broken tree branch had a six-inch diameter resting precariously on the tree at around a height of 45 feet. After noticing the wobbling branch and recalling similar previous incidents with the same tree, the upper school administration and maintenance decided to remove the branch via Commercial Tree Care, a service based in the East Bay counties in California that provides tree health care, removals, tree emergency services and more. A Commercial Tree Care worker ascended up the tree in a lift and lowered a large bucket with the branch in it. 

A worker from Commercial Tree Care stands in a lift extending from a truck to move up the tree outside Dobbins. The worker needed to move 45 feet up the tree in order to retrieve the wobbling branch. (Michelle Wei)

“We don’t want [the branch] to land on anybody’s head,” DelAlto said. ”If you look [up], you can see where the branches have split.“We’re actually being overly cautious to prevent an accident from happening.”

The staff conducted similar operations before in the upper school. Two years ago, three trees on campus had broken branches and required pruning and cutting to maintain safety on campus. According to DelAlto, this procedure took 30 to 45 minutes per tree, which was less time-consuming than this branch removal. 

“This [maintenance] is more complicated, so it [took] slightly longer to do this than the previous ones,” DelAlto said.