Stop topping, start pruning

Glendale News Press

I had a note the other day from landscape architect Larry Moss decrying the recent butchering of some eucalyptus trees on Angeles Crest. I haven't seen them (I'm out of town this week), but I gather from his comments that someone engaged in the all-too-common practice of topping trees instead of properly pruning them.

It's quicker work to just hack back the nether reaches of a tall specimen instead of taking the time to choose the right branches, but topping weakens the tree. It sets up the potential for disease, and, in the long term, can make the tree more dangerous than it was before. It turns a once-beautiful tree downright ugly. Have you ever driven along Lynnhaven and Princess Anne right after the liquidambars on one side of the street have been topped to keep them from damaging the power lines overhead? It's a ghastly appearance.

"They'll blame it on the wires . . . [but] have they every heard of lacing out?" Moss writes of whoever took a chain saw to the eucalyptus. Then he describes a deodar, one of La Cañada's "protected" trees that he spotted on Alta Canyada Road, north of El Vago: "There's one deodora that looks like it was amputated."

If you don't know Larry from his life's work, or from his many years of serving on the city's design commission, you may know him as the co-owner, with his wife Penny, of Penelope's Café Books & Gallery. Several years ago the couple took over a ragged building where we used to buy paint and wallpaper and turned it into an inviting bungalow surrounded by plantings that, not surprisingly, are in perfect concert with the structure. Nary a topped tree is in sight.

Larry and I have had an ongoing correspondence recently over a guest column he's working on for us. I won't go into great detail, but let's just say he'd like all community members — not just the saints (my word, not his) at La Cañada Valley Beautiful — to take a greater interest in improving our surroundings. It will likely be ready for next week's paper, assuming all goes as planned, so please look for it.

Next Wednesday our La Cañada High School seniors will be assembling on the football field at Spartan Stadium to collect their well-earned diplomas. My most sincere congratulations go out to them all, including, if I might get personal, Krishna Rajagopalan, who this spring has been learning about the newspaper business at my side on Friday afternoons. What a delightful young man. I've found him to be an enthusiastic and conscientious student, a true pleasure to be around.

I'm sure similar words can be used to describe the other members of the LCHS Class of 2010. As they go forth I hope they'll remember the words of our alma mater and honor the school for the preparation it has given them to face whatever the world (or college) hurls at them.

It's almost time for the annual Valley Sun mixer, when we host the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce evening get-together. Last year, because we were in the throes of moving to our new digs, we held it at Memorial Park instead of at our former office. The mixer was quite the success, despite unseasonably cold, damp weather earlier in the day that had us all a little concerned we might be rained out.

Trusting we'd have sunnier weather this year, and remembering how nice it was to spread out in the park, we're returning there for our 2010 mixer. The good times will roll at 5:30 p.m. June 17. Please calendar that event now so we can visit with you. You'll be fed, entertained, amused (or perhaps bemused) by your peers and have ample opportunities to buy raffle tickets from the lovely Miss La Cañada Flintridge court.

As we like to jokingly say at our office, "It's fun at the Sun." Join us for fun with the Sun, at the park. It wouldn't be quite the same party without you!

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