Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, February 2, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, February 2, 2013 

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

Rarely do I come across someone as 
passionate about his work and his subject 
as Dr. Jerrold Turney. Beginning today, 
Saturday February 2, Dr. Turney, a Plant 
Pathologist and Certified Arborist, will 
begin a delightful monthly series at the 
LA Arboretum in Arcadia on the “care 
and feeding” of our urban forest, known 
as the one of the most diverse in the 

Our Southern California climate is 
seductively conducive to growing a wide 
variety of trees. Some make sense to 
grow here and others are just a headache from the first day they’re 

Dr. Turney will discuss several different popular SoCal landscape 
trees at each month’s session, including, this month, varieties of 
Magnolia, Liquidambar, Bottle, Trumpet, Dogwood, Jacaranda, plus 
five San Gabriel Valley staples, the California Coastal, Engelmann 
and English Oaks, plus Western Sycamore and the White Alder. 

After the classroom presentation of these trees’ growth habit, native 
origin, common diseases and pests, the beauty of this series lies in 
the ability to see these trees in situ, right at the arboretum during 
the class’s hands on walk, to understand and further discuss features 
and care and identification of variety as well as plant care issues.

In addition to having served as curator of the camellia gardens at the 
Huntington Library and Botanic Garden, a research horticulturist at 
the Los Angeles County Arboretum, Turney is one of a small group 
of Plant pathologists for LA County’s Department of Agricultural 
Commissioner/ Weights and Measures. 

This department is responsible for collecting samples of nursery 
stock arriving from other states, to determine if disease or insect 
infestation is present. This process, according to Turney, is critical 
not only to the plant health of our urban forest here in LA, but the 
huge agricultural economy in the state. Think, citrus, vegetables, 
stone fruits, nuts and so much more! 

This “homegrown” pathologist grew up right here in the San 
Gabriel Valley, in South Pasadena. Chuckling, he remembers his 
first real exposure to the plant world was mowing lawns when he 
attended Pasadena City College. “I had the opportunity to look 
at the different plants around me during that job. From there, I 
majored in Botany at Cal Poly, then did my Ph.D. at UC Riverside 
on Phyophthora, a parasitic algae that infects roots when they are 
overwatered (a biiig problem with oaks) … 
and here I am today!” 

“I spend a lot of time with gardeners on how 
to water their gardens,” he reflected. “When I 
ask how often they water, most say that their 
plants get plenty of water. Every day, in fact. 
Through automatic irrigation. It’s drowning 
their plants! Most need to be watered deeply, 
and then allowed to dry out for a time. 
Proper watering is one of the most critical 
factors in health plants.”

Oak root rot fungus is very common in both 
the San Gabriel Valley and the Beverly Hills 
area, he commented. If mushrooms come 
up right on the tree wood in December or 
January, this fungus is a big concern.

“In fact,” he said, “the first thing I look for 
when a tree or a shrub dies in the San Gabriel 
Valley is oak root rot. When I cut into the 
bark, I’ll often see a white mycelia fan, a 
definite indicator, though we will culture it 
to make sure.”

Often, the problems Angelinos bring to 
him are not necessarily a virus or fungus 
infection. “Half the time, the problem 
arises from unexpected frost, sunburn or a 
windborne herbicide drift. But it’s important 
to know, so you can understand how to care for the plant.”

Turney continued, “A lot of people don’t know the trees in the 
neighborhood. It’s important to know what you have in order to 
take care of them… especially when it comes to pruning!” 

“An important area for gardeners to understand is what time of year 
to prune, and why,” he said. “Trees are complicated. The Oriental 
tulip tree blooms in late winter on last year’s growth. If it’s pruned 
in winter, it will have fewer flowers. Instead it should be pruned 
right after flowering.”

Conversely, other types of trees require the opposite treatment. 
“Mimosas bloom here in June on the new growth that occurs in 
spring. So this tree should be pruned in winter. Stone fruit pruning 
is another critical area. Pruning is really critical to having healthy 
vigorous growth. Apricots respond very well to a hard pruning 
every winter. But remember the Prunus trees like apricot and plums 
only last 15-20 years before succumbing to age, disease and insect 

“Citrus, on the other hand, can grow for a hundred years,” according 
to Turney, “and production doesn’t drop off with age.”

Turney says that many Angelinos don’t know about the availability 
of the county’s plant pathologists and entomologists to assist 
residents with their individual plant woes. He invites those with 
plant and tree issues to contact him at his lab in Southgate at 562-
622-0433 or by email to

“What Tree Is That?” instructed by Dr. Jerrold Turney, will be held 
once a month on Saturdays at the Los Angeles Arboretum in the 
Bamboo Room. The first class is today, February 2, and will continue 
March 2, April 13 and May 11. Pre-registration preferred, but you 
may register at the door. Please call the Class Registration line at 
626-821-4623. Cost is $25 Members/$30 Non-Members (includes 
Arboretum admission). The Los Angeles County Arboretum & 
Botanic Garden is located at 301 North Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia. 
For more information, visit their website at

If you know of an interesting topic for “One of a Kind” contact Chris 
Bertrand at 

“WHAT TREE IS THAT?” Local Plant Pathologist Begins News Series on Local Landscape 


While indicators show that housing is making a comeback, the glut of negative reporting is still 
making people skittish about buying a home. This has created a hot rental market, with few places 
available to lease and rising rent rates. Consider some reasons why it’s always better to own than to 

First, as owner, you are your own landlord. You won’t be kicked out for any reason other than not 
making your mortgage payments. You control every other aspect of how you choose to live in your 

Even more important, those monthly payments are a kind of forced savings, helping you to build 
equity. Although it's possible that home values could fall further, the same could happen to your 
401(k). But over the long term, both types of investment are more likely to see gains.

Right now, interest rates are still very low, which means that if you choose a fixed-rate mortgage, that 
rate will never change, and you will build equity at an even quicker pace.

Another reason to opt for the ownership route is that you'll find - particularly now with so few leases 
available - that the nicest homes in the safest neighborhoods with the best schools will be offered 
for sale and not for rent. Consult with an agent and turn that rent payment into savings and security 

City of Monrovia Department of Community Services 
321 South Myrtle Avenue . 626.256.8274 
Sponsored by Friends of the Monrovia Public Library 
Sign up online at 
Click on the calendar icon to find your event. No Internet? Call 626-256-8274. 
Walk-ins welcome 
Gardening with Edibles & Natives 
Sustainable gardening is particularly important in Southern California. Native 
plants thrive in our dry climate and can create exciting landscapes too. And what 
is better than eating fresh picked produce resulting from your own loving care? 
John Lyons from The Woven Garden is an 
expert on native and edible gardens. He 
designed a garden titled The Edible Labyrinth 
for the 2009 LA Garden Show, held at the 
LA Arboretum. John’s garden was dubbed 
“the most intriguing installation at the LA 
Garden Show” by Sunset Magazine’s senior 
garden writer. 
Join us for a full afternoon of inspiration, 
timely planting and gardening tips, and 
innovative garden design. 
Saturday, February 9 
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. 
Library Community Room 
This program is part of the Discover Your World Cultural Program Series