Two and a half years after fierce Santa Ana Winds tore through the Southland, La Crescenta residents got a few hundred brand new trees, courtesy of a local utility company, to replace the ones that were blown over.
On Arbor Day, a semi-truck carrying 240 trees plucked from Southern California Edison’s nursery in Auberry, Calif., pulled into the community.
Other parts of the San Gabriel Valley that were out of power for days after the late 2011 windstorm have also been receiving similar deliveries.
“Given how long the power outage was — and the fact the windstorm destroyed so many trees — , we thought it would be a nice goodwill gesture to help re-forest the local community,” said Ben Wong, a regional public affairs manager with the utility.
The collection of trees to distribute didn’t last long though, as nearly 60 residents either stopped by to collect their portion of the 22 varieties available or had the trees delivered to them with the help of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, which assisted in coordinating the effort.
Those interested in getting free trees had to fill out a request form on the town council's website, thecvcouncil.com.
Most people went home with more than one tree, while one woman had 17 of them delivered to her home, said Robbyn Battles, council president.
“I think this is one of the best community events that we’ve done,” she said.
All of the trees were about 3 years old, averaged about 5 or 6 feet tall and arrived in 15-gallon buckets, meaning they would have to be replanted.
Resident Marie Yeseta, who lost a few trees to strong winds, picked herself up eight new ones, including a few Chinese pistachio trees, and she was thankful for the opportunity to redo some landscaping.
“The colder it gets, the more brilliant a red the leaves turn in the fall,” she said.
But she hasn’t planted them around her house just yet.
Despite the trees being drought tolerant, the middle of a California summer might not be so kind to the roots once they’re underground, so she’ll keep them in the buckets for now and add them to her front and back yards sometime in September.
“I was just waiting ‘til the fall to put them in the ground. Now, I’m just going to baby them,” Yeseta said.
Southern California Edison also delivered 105 trees on Arbor Day to St. James the Less School in La Crescenta to help with a landscaping project of the campus’ common area.