Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 21, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page A-11



 Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 21, 2012 

One Of A Kind: Featuring unique homes and gardens and the people whoe create them Story and Photos By Chris Bertrand 


Homeowners Crane in 17,000 Lb. Oak to Replace Fallen Tree

After several hundred Sierra Madre trees were uprooted or snapped in the December 1 windstorm, remnants 
of the deforestation of foothill communities like Sierra Madre still remain. Many homes still have enormous 
tarps applied like huge blue band aids, where shingles were stripped or trees fell through the roof that fateful 

Oak Crest Drive, running along the eastern perimeter of Bailey Canyon, is representative of the damage 
wreaked by 100+ mile an hour canyon winds. Within two blocks, dozens of trees were damaged or downed on 
that night. One Oak Crest home had a large oak sever part of the roof. A block away, on Grove and Carter, a home was buried under 
huge Eucalyptus, requiring cranes to unearth the remaining structure. Other homes had three and four trees snapped as a burst of 
wind traveled Bailey Canyon. Oak Crest residents, the Eberhards, were devastated that the oak tree they considered the focal point 
of their landscape and privacy from the street, tipped at a dangerous angle over their driveway after the storm.The couple had spent 
years trying to save the majestic heritage tree, which was plagued by the Armillaria fungus in the soil, and years of detrimental summer 
irrigation by a former owner.

Oaks native to Southern California tolerate precious little summertime watering, as the indigenous climate usually doesn’t provide any. 
Thirsty plantings and their attendant sprinkler systems are often a deadly combination for these trees.

At the recommendation of Osti Tree Service, the Eberhards engaged Sierra Madre based, Gagnier Landscape to search out a large replacement 
tree. “We wanted the biggest one possible,” said Carolyn Eberhard. Joe Gagnier, CEO of the company, indicated the new oak, a southern 
Live Oak, with a Latin name of Quercus Virginiana, came in an 84 inch box covering its root system from Senna Tree’s Sunland inventory. 

After being “field dug”, the tree acclimated to its boxed root environment at Senna for a couple of years before this installation.

Native to the American South, which gets regular summertime rains, this variety is less susceptible to the Armillaria fungus in local soil, 
retaining natural defense to it. “This fungus really wreaks havoc (on oak trees) under warm conditions where there’s moisture.” said Gagnier. 

According to the company’s website,, their in-house capability and expertise preserves and relocates trees from 48 
inch diameter and up, and grows “over 20 acres of unique, one of a kind, specimen trees and palms, 60 thru 132 inch box size, plus palms 
8 to 80 feet in trunk height.”

Gagnier chuckled, remembering the search for 
the Eberhard’s perfect tree. “The search went on 
for a couple of months. I sent photographs of the 
best looking stuff I was finding. Every time I sent 
a picture, Carolyn said, ‘Bigger!’” 

Weighing in at 17,000 pounds and about 23 feet 
high, the Eberhard’s newly acquired tree was 
installed with a huge crane and a crew of six, 
amid great neighborhood excitement on April 
12. About a dozen looked on, most with cameras 

The new oak of Oak Crest is not the largest tree 
Gagnier has installed. That honor goes to the 
Stone Pine in a 96 inch box procured from Valley 
Crest Tree, which they installed at a Beverly Park 
estate off Mulholland.

The Oak Crest installation was one of the more challenging, however, due to the steep grade of the street. “Senna is my 
first call for the bigger trees,” said Gagnier. “I like them because their main focus is as a tree company, and they own all 
their cranes.” “We tried to figure out the best approach, from the driveway, the street above, or from the curb, because 
of the angles. Their more experienced crane operators came up with extra gear to level the crane, with special ramps 
and blocking,” he said, to accommodate the difficult site. 

Since the windstorm, Gagnier has been very busy in the Pasadena area, installing ten 60 inch diameter boxed trees at 
one site last week, and several other large, mature “reforestation” efforts locally. 

And, yes. Gagnier installs smaller trees, replanting the local leafy canopy one tree at a time.

For more information, contact Gagnier Landscape at 626- 355-5977. 

Oak Crest tree installation by crane

Digging a four foot hole for the tree roots.


In spring and summer, it's easy to envision ways to enhance your home's curb appeal with 
a trimmed lawn, planted and potted flowers, and patios and decks arranged with outdoor 
furniture and an inviting grill. But when the leaves fall and the temperatures drop, even 
homes in temperate climes undergo a winter transformation that can challenge a seller to 
create exterior appeal.

When it comes to landscaping and colorful plants, there are plenty of ornamental grasses 
and plants that look great in wintertime. Purple cabbages, fountain grasses, and potted evergreens 
along pathways and by the door all add seasonal color and appeal. And obviously, 
your sidewalk, entry path, patio and deck should be clear of leaves and/or snow.

Be sure to keep in mind that shorter days mean that buyers are that much more likely to see 
your home after sunset, so make sure all your floodlights are clean and in working order, 
highlighting your home's exterior features. Lamps with soft lighting in all your windows will 
also offer a warm invitation.

Finally, just to cover your bases, have photos available of your home in all its glory during the 
spring and summer months. This gives buyers a better sense of your home's appeal during 
all the seasons of the year. Your agent will have more tips for attracting buyers in any kind 
of weather.