STOCKTON — A stately Italian stone pine took an unexpected nosedive in one of Stockton’s many tree-studded neighborhood parks last weekend, splitting apart some 6 to 8 feet up its trunk.

A police officer on patrol around Constitution Park at North Union and East Fremont streets first spotted the downed evergreen and reported it to the city’s Tree Division, a unit of the Department of Public Works.

City Hall spokeswoman Connie Cochran said no one was injured when the tree fell, and no damage other than to the tree was reported.

After speaking with a city tree specialist this week, Cochran said, “he doesn’t know why it split like that. It didn’t have a lot of sap. The needles were still green.”

Cochran noted that a few years ago, a couple of other stone pines fell in a similar manner in Louis Park.

Italian stone pines generally grow to between 40 and 80 feet tall with a mature crown measuring 40 to 60 feet across. They can easily live more than 100 years.

Removal of the large tree is more than city crews are equipped to handle, Cochran said, so a contractor has been hired to bring in a crane to get the job done, most likely by the end of the week. In the meantime, the downed tree has been cordoned off with yellow caution tape.

“We really are still in a drought," Cochran said. "Trees get stressed, and it happens.”

— Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or Follow him at and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.