Meet Apple Park’s hippie tree whisperer

“At first glance, it might have seemed an unusual meeting between Steve Jobs and David Muffly. Jobs was a world-renowned technologist billionaire, and Muffly an itinerant arborist whose passion was the soil,” Steven Levy writes for Backchannel. “But if you transposed the timelines of their lives, you could locate a point of intersection.”

“As young men, both had been interested in tech — Muffly had earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford. Both found themselves residing in a countercultural living situation centered around trees, though Muffly remained in what he calls his ‘hippie commune’ for years,” Levy writes. “And Steve Jobs spent only a short time in the Oregon-based All One Farm before heading home to California to became Steve Jobs.”

“But at this first meeting in 2010, Muffly learned that he and Steve Jobs shared a love of trees, and in particular a passion for the foliage native to the pre-Silicon Valley landscape, before big tech companies showed up and changed it,” Levy writes. “The encounter would lead to Muffly becoming the senior arborist at Apple, Inc., in charge of choosing, locating and planting the 9,000 trees that justify Apple’s choice to call its 175-acre campus a park — and in making Apple Park a leaf-and-blossom tribute to the CEO who designed it but would not live to see it built. Or planted.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s an amazing transformation from miles of asphalt and concrete parking lots to grassy fields and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees.

Apple Park. Unapologetically arbored.

Apple is buying so many trees for Apple Park that there aren’t enough left for anyone else – April 13, 2017
Apple’s new 175-acre campus, Apple Park, opens to employees in April; Theater to be named for Steve Jobs – February 22, 2017
Apple’s Campus 2 greens up with solar, fuel cells and landscaping in latest drone flyovers – September 2, 2016
Check out Apple’s insanely ambitious tree-planting plans for its new spaceship campus – June 4, 2016
Meet Dave Muffly, Apple’s ‘Mothership’ campus arborist and tree whisperer – June 7, 2013
Apple submits updated Mothership campus plans to Cupertino, reveals stunning renderings – December 7, 2011


  1. The June 2017 drone flyovers show they’ve still got a lot of landscaping left to do. It appears as though less than half of those 9,000 trees have been planted so far. That’s quite a landscaping project. I can only imagine taking a stroll through Apple Park’s grounds when it’s completed. I wonder how it compares in scope to NYC’s Central Park.

    1. You asked how Apple Park compares, here are the numbers
      to put in in perspective:

      Shelby Farms (Memphis, TN) 7.03125 mi² (4,500 Acres)
      Griffith Park (LA) 6.734375 mi² (4,310 Acres)
      Großer Tiergarten (Berlin) 2 mi² (1280 Acres)
      Central Park (NYC) 1.31719 mi² (843 Acres)
      Hyde Park (London) 0.546875 mi² (350 Acres)
      Grant Park (Chicago) 0.498437 mi² (319 Acres)
      Apple Park 0.273438 mi² (175 Acres)
      Champ de Mars (Paris) 0.09375 mi² (60 Acres)

    2. Glad you mentioned Central Park. Like Apple Park, Central Park is a completely artificial landscape. Virtually none of the trees and hills and rocks that are fixtures of the park were there before Frederick Law Olmsted designed and built it.

      From Wikipedia: “When the park was officially completed in 1873 [after 13 years of construction], more than 10 million cartloads of material had been transported out of the park, including soil and rocks, and more than four million trees, shrubs, and plants representing approximately 1,500 species were transplanted to the park…”

  2. I used to live in California and there are very few places (that I have been to) that are better. The variety of trees and how they were planted (e.g. double rows along sidewalks) not single as everywhere else I have lived. Still, as impressive as it was to me, it was not enough for S. Jobs. He wanted better. Sad to think he will never see the results.

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