By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
A Tree City USA for nearly three decades
fall foliage


Bulletin correspondent

Manteca is not just a Family City. It has another moniker, one that it has earned — and maintained — in the last 29 years: Tree City USA.

The proof is in the foliage feast that visually overwhelms the town at this time of the year.

That was not always the case. There was a time — three decades back to pinpoint an exact calendar period— when a windshield tour around town hardly yielded any successful attempt to find autumn leaves around town. If you were patient, you could find a handful of places where trees were adorned by a burst of fall foliage.

If you embarked on a windshield tour to view these locations, these are what you saw at your destinations:

u Two towering old ginkgo trees in the downtown business district literally stood out with their golden branches each fall —- one that was just a skip-and-a-hop away from the courthouse along Lincoln Avenue, off Center Street, with the other found in a more central location downtown across from the old city hall building on Sycamore Street.

uMajestic old liquidambars that ran along the corner of Powers Avenue and East North Street which belonged to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Alas! The city had to mandate their removal due to pedestrian safety, causing an outcry from residents who wanted to see them preserved. The trees’ big roots have crept up the ground’s surface which caused the concrete sidewalks to buckle up thereby posing a hazard for pedestrians. The replacements though — Chinese pistache — proved to be just as colorful in the fall, albeit a tad shorter in stature than the statuesque liquidambars. They were planted farther away from the public walkway to prevent any hazards for those accessing the sidewalk.

From these two locations, your search for other colorful fall foliage would have been a major and frustrating hide-and-seek adventure.

A kaleidoscope of

fall colors everywhere

Fast forward to 2008. When the Family City once again was bestowed the honor of being a Tree City USA, the following inventory was revealed. At the end of that year, it was reported that the city was maintaining 8,801 trees in public right-of-way, plus another 7,596 trees in parks and at the Manteca Golf Course. Overall, the number of municipal trees was 16,397 which was almost double the 8,567 trees that the city had a decade prior. In contrast, Manteca’s population during that span of time increased by about 40 percent – from 47,114 in 1998 to 66,451 in 2008.

The number of municipal trees continued to grow — no pun intended— each year after that. No new figures were available last year when the Manteca Garden Club made its annual donation of new trees during the annual Arbor Day celebration with several 15-gallon oak, Chinese pistache, and elm varieties planted at the 40-acre Woodward Park along Buena Vista Drive. This is just one of the ways the club is helping to beautify the city.

As Manteca grew with the construction of new commercial and residential developments, so did the number of fall-friendly colorful trees planted along major thoroughfares as part of the building requirements. Evidence of these are everywhere, making an autumn windshield tour easier and more pleasant this time. Right now, for instance, young ginkgo trees at the intersection of South Main Street and Mission Ridge are in their golden yellow glory. 

Golden rain and pepper trees around City Hall on West Center trees still retain their colorful leaves this late autumn. The pathway between majestic sycamores at Woodward Park along Woodward Avenue remains a favorite of joggers and avid walkers.

Tree City USA Manteca has reached a point where you can easily take a quick drive around and find plenty of autumn leaves without heading to the Foothills.