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Is cloning the answer for Laguna's ailing, 135-year-old pepper tree?

Is cloning the answer for Laguna's ailing, 135-year-old pepper tree?

The story of a 135-year-old pepper tree in front of Laguna Beach’s City Hall added another chapter Tuesday night — a consideration of cloning.

The City Council directed staff to investigate cloning the tree, which multiple arborists have said is structurally unstable and in danger of falling, as part of its recommendation.

Council members unanimously approved cutting the tree to a height of 12 feet in some sections, maximizing portions that can be saved, and purchasing another tree at 14 feet tall, half the height of a pepper tree in Sunland the city had suggested.

The existing 36-foot-tall tree stands near the front entrance to City Hall. The tree has...

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