A Grove of Trees

I must have pulled at least 10,000 Washington palm seedlings in my lifetime. They come up everywhere in Los Angeles and require nothing but smog to survive. For years, I found nothing redeeming about...

Mayten & Pineapple Guava

Just the other day, in North Hollywood on Sylvan Street, I bumped into two of my favorite trees. One was a pineapple guava (Acca or Feijoa sellowiana) and the other was a mayten (Maytenus boaria). Fo...

Afghan Pines & Mountain Garlands

Question: I have an Afghan pine planted in a hole cut out of my deck. It has been there about 10 years, has a circumference of about 70 inches at the base, and is 6 feet from the house. It currently ...

Training Trees

After careful observation of newly planted trees for almost 30 years, I have come to the conclusion that there is something seriously wrong with most of them. They simply do not have the ability to s...

Leaning Towards Shorter Trees

A week ago, a gigantic pine tree fell over and crashed into a house in Sherman Oaks. Luckily, no one was hurt, but what happened should serve as a reminder of the hazards presented by large trees in ...

From Dogwood to Black-Eyed Susan

Until last Sunday, nearly 15 years had passed since I had seen a dogwood tree. In 1984, I spent several months setting traps for fruit flies in South Central and East Los Angeles. If you recall, the ...

Honey Bees and China Dolls

Judy Rosen lives in the Sherwood Forest area of Northridge with one duck, six hens, 50,000 honey bees and a collection of exotic plants that cause discriminating botanists to cluck and buzz with deli...

Jacarandas

Believe it or not, some people don’t like jacaranda trees. The problem with the jacaranda, they claim, is that its flowers stain sidewalks, stick to your shoes and leave marks on linoleum floor...

What to Plant Under a Pine Tree

Question: We’re trying to design a low-water 2,500-square-foot back yard with a big pine tree overhead. We’ve looked at some designs but they all use crushed rock or gravel or bark, which...