They are telling me that because it was existing when the city limits came to the property that it is not a city tree althought it certainly is located like one, being right next to the street. That it is not a city owned tree; however, the plot thickens. The city of Modesto wanted the previous owner of the property to remove the trees several years back and at that time the previous owner filed for some sort of historical protection for the trees (there are 3 of them) with the State of California and got it. So I assume that the appropriate paperwork would be necessary from the State before any removal could take place. Al, as I understand it English walnuts can only handle a mild freeze and usually start sustaining damage at any prolonged temps below 25 degrees. They also have trouble with rain and or prolonged high humidity during the growing season. They get a blight if it rains in the spring time but it can be controlled with copper and as we normally have dry summers with low humidity here, we can grow them with adaquate irrigation. That's why they are pretty much restricted to California.
I didn't think of a car hitting it, but that is entirely plausable. The HO said that a bunch of the bark came off when the limb broke but it could have been just sitting there loose. The wound showed a little sign of healing on the left side so this happened quite a while ago. There are several pruning cuts up in the tree of 3" to 4" limbs with no healing which is what you would expect with this kind of tree that is this old. Most walnut trees in this area never make it past 70 years especially in an urban setting like that. This was a very unusual tree. A street tree that gives you shade and food.