Buckling sidewalks, messy berries and business sign visibility are some of the reasons San Marino is removing ficus trees that line Huntington Drive.
The issue came before city council Sept. 28, and the city has made residents aware of the 3-0 council vote (Vice Mayor Richard Ward was absent from the meeting) in its October community newsletter (download the newsletter via the city's website).
Trees targeted for removal include those along the south side of Huntington Drive between Kenilworth and Del Mar avenues and on the north side of Huntington from Kenilworth to Ridgeway Road as well as an additional five or six trees between Bedford and Monterey roads, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Environmental Services Manager Ron Serven reported to the council that city crews had used various strategies to address the issues with the trees including increased pruning, pressure washing sidewalks and replacing uplifted sidewalks, but some local businesses didn't find the measures to be effective enough. According to minutes from the council meeting, San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe and Kraemer Jewelers wrote in support of the tree removal.
Serven recommended replacing the ficus trees with Chinese pistache trees because they also provide a shade canopy but do not produce berries, and they have less invasive roots.
The Chinese pistache grows to between 25 and 35 feet high and the canopy has about the same 25 to 35-foot spread, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
According to the Times, removal of a total of 35 trees will begin next year.
Perhaps ironically, guidelines of the city's new tree preservation ordinance can also be found in this month's city newsletter directly above the Huntington Drive tree replacement announcement.