Long before Eastwood Village was born, planners chose the perfect ornament to stand as its centerpiece: a 40-year-old floss silk tree that blooms each fall with pink and rose flowers.
There was just one challenge. The massive tree, with its 60-foot canopy and deep-diving roots, had to be moved 100 yards from its former home at the shuttered Hines Nursery.
And that would take a year.
“It’s a long, slow process,” says Richard Roy, Irvine Company’s vice president of Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. “But we had a magnificent tree, and we wanted to preserve it.”
Workers first cut a quarter of the tree’s roots—10 feet out from the trunk—and let them heal for two months. Then they cut another quarter of the roots and let them also heal two months. Later they cut a third and fourth side, always letting them heal.
Patience is key, Roy says, as each root needs water, nourishment and time to heal after cutting.
Lastly, workers cut the root bottoms, about eight feet deep, and built a wooden box around the root ball to secure it. Then a crane hoisted the tree onto a flatbed truck. These final 100 yards were the most delicate part of the operation, as even the slightest jostling of the bark and its adjacent cambium layer could damage the tree.
Today the floss silk tree anchors Grand Trellis Park at the entrance to Eastwood Village, greeting residents on arrival.
The floss silk tree is hardly the only mature tree preserved in the new Eastwood Village. Just to the north stands a transplanted ficus anchoring Mosaic Park. Just to the south stands a transplanted ficus anchoring Eucalyptus Park—both moved less than a few hundred yards. And just to the west stand two windrows of towering, old eucalyptus trees.
“These trees are part of the land,” Roy says. “We preserve them because they’re part of our heritage—and because it is the right thing to do.”