Altadena Tree Committee

The Tree Committee plus one at this year’s Tree Giveaway. From left Michele Zack, Kathy Musial, Lisa Wintner, Val Zavala, Anne Chomyn, and AH Member Michelle Huneven with Tatty Jane. Not pictured: Janet Castro, Mark Goldschmidt, Kathleen McDonnell, Rob Bruce, and Sharon Sand  –Deb Squared Photo

Altadena needs trees to stay cool.
Three cheers for the Tree Committee!

Board member Anne Chomyn, a retired Caltech research scientist, thinks a lot about climate change, and particularly how it affects Altadena. Heat from the sprawling, paved-over LA Basin that blows up against our mountain backstop can raise temperatures 5-10 degrees above normal, and “normal” is already hot. After a little research, Anne found that the single most effective mitigation measure we can take is to increase our living canopy. Trees make cool shade, their respiration cools hot, dry air; added benefits are beauty, carbon sequestration, and air filtration.

So, two years ago Anne formed the Altadena Heritage Tree Committee to educate the people of Altadena about the need for trees, and to promote the establishment of a true urban forest. Last year she organized a “Tree Giveaway” event, and prepared for this by engaging Dr. Jerrold Turney, a research botanist and plant pathologist recently retired from LA County Arboretum, to give a series of three on-line workshops. The first workshop, “Right Tree, Right Place” addressed what to consider in selecting and siting a tree. The second went into detail on pruning and tree care. The third workshop demonstrated the proper way to plant a tree from a container.

Anne requested that everyone getting a free tree watch these workshops. A grant from Southern California Edison for combatting climate change enabled Anne to buy 40 trees for people to plant in their yards. It was a wonderful event, people picked up their trees and waved to old friends (we were still in full Covid). Those who received a tree were asked to send a photo of their planted tree. The Committee staged another Giveaway this year. There were 40 trees and 80 applicants; Anne, ever the scientist and a hard worker, checked every address on Google Earth and gave priority to those with the least existing tree cover.

Note: A great friend of Altadena and trees is Norik Sahak, arborist and urban forester for Public Works. Not only is he sometimes able to intervene when trees are being badly pruned, he also has a budget to plant trees on street parkways – those are the strips of land next to streets that belong to the county but you have to take care of. (We got three beautiful 24” box California Peppers last year.) Call him or email, he will come and look at your situation and see if he can help. (818) 249 0248.