It's an early Arbor Day

City officials celebrated Arbor Day this week by planting a deodar cedar, a species whose place on a list of protected trees La Cañada Flintridge officials currently are debating.

Deodar cedars line streets in the Alta Canyada neighborhood, an area Mayor Laura Olhasso said she visited before attending the tree-planting ceremony in Olberz Park on Wednesday morning. She said she was looking up at the cedars in the neighborhood, thinking about how a tree changes a community.

"I was treasuring the thought that birds would be nestling in it and children would be enjoying its shade," she said. "I think this is a wonderful thing that the community does."

Olberz Park is a small green space in the Town Center, in front of the Sport Chalet headquarters. The new tree was planted near the sidewalk in a space that lacked shade.

Arbor Day is nationally observed on April 26, but the city decided to plant its tree early. Officials select an area every year that lost a tree or needs more greenery. The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized La Cañada as a Tree City USA for 25 years.

The deodar cedar currently appears on a list of city-protected trees. Officials recently debated removing the tree from the list, which would let residents remove the trees from their property without receiving a fine. The City Council is expected to review a revised ordinance soon.

For now, officials are celebrating the city's newest deodar. Olhasso urged all residents to plant their own trees.

During the ceremony, Tom Bristow, of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, reflected on his love of trees.

"Trees make the city much more comfortable physically and aesthetically," he said. "It's nice to have a day of appreciation for them."


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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