We just went through the heart-wrenching experience of having to remove our heritage valley oak due to internal decay, and are now faced with replacing it. The only rule the city gave us is that it must be 30+ feet at maturity. The neighborhood (including us!) would like a tree that gives the street some of its character back - you can see from the attached photo that the old oak really defined the block, so we're looking for something that will be large and striking. There's no replacing the enchanted feeling that oak provided, but if you wanted to have the next best thing, what would you plant? Any advice on planting trees that people generations down the line will be able to enjoy? Any favorite trees you wish you could plant? Or any trees you regret planting??
So far, we've considered:
-another oak -- this seems like the easiest choice, but our old one did have armillaria and it sprouted loads of deathcap mushrooms every fall, so it seems like we'd be signing somebody else up for the same problem we had down the line
-an ash (Fraxinus uhdei) - these get nice and tall, but are somewhat non-descript
-a red maple -- also somewhat nondescript, but would at least be a nice fast grower
-a horse chestnut -- haven't been able to find many mature examples locally, am a little worried this would be too overpowering
-a purple or copper beech -- haven't been able to see one in full leaf locally, the pictures make these seem like dark, hulking, glowering things
-a catalpa or paulownia -- my brother suggested these to me, but I simply don't know much about them and how they perform in the Bay Area