Newly planted fruit trees in MacArthur Park uprooted

Fruit trees meant to offer shade, free snacks for MacArthur Park neighborhood have been uprooted

Nearly 30 fruit trees planted by kids recently in the MacArthur Park area as part of a summer fruit tree planting project were broken and uprooted late Monday night.

“It was devastating,” said Lee Schube, spokeswoman for Heart of Los Angeles, a youth outreach organization that’s partnered with the Fallen Fruit project to plant 150 new fruit trees in the area. “It’s such an exciting project that only meant to bring good for the community.”

Students spent the last few months selecting locations for the trees, planting them and promoting them through a series of art projects that will eventually be displayed online as apart of a virtual walking tour map.

The trees were meant to offer the community shade and free snacks year-round: plums and peaches in the summer, pomegranates and persimmons in the fall, and lemons, limes, oranges and kumquats in the spring and winter.

So far, 28 of out 150 trees had been planted, some on the northwest end of Lafayette Park and the rest outside an apartment building near the park. All those trees were pulled out of the ground or snapped in half at the trunk overnight.

It is not clear who may have done it or if more than one person was involved.

“Whoever it was, they’re apparently going through a rough time right now," said Fallen Fruit co-founder Austin Young.

Organizers plan to continue with the project and hope to find more donated trees to plant, Young said.

“We’re calling it an urban disaster and we’re ready to just move on,” he said. “Hopefully this will bring the community together even more."

Kids from the program will gather Wednesday at 10 a.m. to replant the trees at the park and apartment building.

They may add a bench to the grove at the park and dedicate it to people who are struggling with life, Austin said. 

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