As La Jolla continues to lose its majestic, 100-year-old eucalyptus trees — mainly removed to protect the public and property from spontaneously falling limbs — arborists Kevin Worrall and David Lawson have found a way to make the best of a sad situation.
The La Jolla urban forestry specialists have saved large sections of eucalyptus trunks removed from the Village and elsewhere in La Jolla, to be repurposed as furniture or other decorative items.
Ardath Road resident Richard Adams and his wife, Elizabeth Hansen, phoned the specialists’ company,
Pirasteh’s contribution will be a sculpture rejoining two sections of the tree that grew around a large “keyhole” opening. The pieces, to be displayed where the tree once stood, will be positioned like a Japanese fan and held together with metal cable meant to resemble spider webbing.
A native of Iran who spent years living in Minnesota, Pirasteh uses wood, stone, plaster and metal to create sculptures inspired by philosophy and poetry — particularly the verse of the 13th century mystic poet, Rumi.
Pirasteh said that, after viewing the tree, he didn’t want to lose the beauty of the keyhole.
“We are keeping whatever nature gave us through all these years,” he said. “We’re just modifying a little bit through a simple solution.”
Worrall and Lawson will haul the base of the trunk to their mill in Ramona, where it will spend two to three years drying before it is made into furniture, most likely six-foot- wide table tops.
San Diego woodturner Mike McElhiney will make bowls and other items from smaller sections of the eucalyptus.
“We’re honoring the tree and doing something positive with it,” said Worrall, a La Jolla native. “It’s more at a spiritual level, if you will. We’re doing the tree justice, instead of just grinding it up or burning it. It’s something people can appreciate for a long time.”
Worrall said the eucalyptus is the biggest he’s removed in his three decades working on trees.
“I’ve seen a lot of big eucalyptus trees go down around town and this is one of the real granddaddies,” he said.
Worrall and Lawson are also drying sections of Eucalyptus trees removed near the Wall Street post office, in front of U.S. Bank on Girard Street and, more recently, a eucalyptus felled last month on Ivanhoe Avenue.
“I have a piece of the one that fell by the U.S. Bank that’s 5-feet-thick and 10,000 to 12,000 pounds,” Worrall said.