Your HOA at Work

Ladera’s Iconic Tree at Town Green to be Removed

Ladera’s iconic pine tree at Town Green will be removed due to the tree’s health which will become worse over time. The great oak tree on the adjacent corner will be used as the holiday tree in December 2020.

Town Green (park) in the Township District of Ladera Ranch is home to a small cluster of “Star Pine” or Araucaria spp. trees that includes the approximately 70 ft. center tree that has served as the community Christmas tree during the winter holidays.

Since it was planted in 2007, the tallest pine tree has sustained damage from high winds and storm events and is missing a significant number of branches that won’t regenerate. In recent years, LARMAC has learned that a unique characteristic of this genre of Star Pine species is their propensity to lean toward the equator as they grow. This has caused the cluster of trees to grow sideways, toward the south. Lott Steffey, landscape consultant at Mosaic notes that Star Pines are a brittle species and that the health of the trees, and safety issues would become worse over time.  

After consulting with arborists, holding lengthy discussions with Mosaic Consulting and after much consideration, the LARMAC Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to remove the pine trees. While numerous ideas had been considered to salvage the once iconic tree, the time has come for its removal. The LARMAC Board will consider several concepts to refurbish and enhance the area.

Great oak tree to be used for winter holiday tree

Since 2007 the focal spot for the winter holiday celebrations has been the corner of Sienna Parkway and Main Street, where the large Star Pine had been the feature of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. For the upcoming 2020 winter holiday season, the focus will move to the adjacent corner to the great oak tree, also known as the ‘Heart of Ladera’ which will be used for this year’s holiday tree.  

The great oak tree has always been a part of Ladera Ranch. In 1998, the developer salvaged and relocated the oak to Town Green from the area north of Antonio Parkway, close to the fire station.

Ken Gibson, LARAMAC General Manager, said that the LARMAC and LARCS Boards had lengthy discussions to identify the next best option for a holiday tree. The Boards ultimately landed on using the great oak at Town Green for this year’s holiday tree. It will be decorated with traditional holiday lights and ornaments creating a warm festive ambiance and will promote the holiday spirit among residents and visitors during the winter holidays.

Fun Facts

  • The great oak tree at Town Green is a Quercus Agrifolia Coast Live Oak and had been relocated from Antonio Parkway, near the Fire Station in mid 1998. It was moved in a 20’ x 20’ box to Town Green.
  • Adjacent to the Mercantile West shopping center in Ladera Ranch, Town Green is located in the north eastern part of Ladera Ranch. This “Main Street USA” quintessential park contains a military memorial, central gazebo, the Alice O’Neill Avery Rose Garden (dedicated on October 7th, 2000) and the great oak tree.  
  • Town Green has been home to numerous events over the years: summer concerts, movies on the green, farmers markets, and winter Holiday festivities and celebrations.
  • The great oak tree is also known as ‘The Heart of Ladera’. The branches form the shape of a heart which can be seen in the center of the tree trunk while walking along the pathway from the gazebo towards the great oak tree.  

Why the pine trees at Town Green are growing sideways:

  • The Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) species has recently been studied by botanist who “have measured these trees across five continents and, for the first time, documented a species with a leaning pattern that appears to be hemisphere-dependent.
  • Many plants, including conifers like the pine trees at Town Green are known for their propensity to lean towards a light source when it's not directly above the shoot – a characteristic known as phototropism.
  • This Cook Pine tree species is leaning towards the equator. In California and Hawaii they lean to the South. Interestingly these same trees in Australia lean to the North.


  • September 16th: Smaller trees around the outside will be removed.
  • September 17th and 18th: Large tree will be removed.
  • September 21st, 22nd, 23rd: Tree stumps will be removed; irrigation, grading, soil work completed. Rose bushes will be added.  

For other LARMAC project updates visit the Projects and Improvements page on