Letters to the Editor: Cutting down Beverly Hills’ ficus trees is ‘almost a crime’

Robertson Boulevard in Beverly Hills is seen this month with ficus trees having been cut down on one side of the street.
(Wendy Klenk)

To the editor: It’s almost a crime that full-grown trees that offer much-needed shade as well as other numerous benefits for the environment are removed only because the wrong tree was chosen in the wrong location. (“A battle to save Beverly Hills’ shady ficus trees is underway,” Feb. 13)

Ficus trees, also known as Indian laurel, have been planted all over Southern California in narrow parkways and small tree wells by various cities. They obviously need more space.

Rather than remove the trees, I suggest the city of Beverly Hills contact Burbank, where I have observed they have made every effort to save the trees and install new sidewalks. Last I looked, the trees look very healthy, and the sidewalks and curbs are still in excellent condition.


David L. Simon, North Hollywood

The writer is a landscape architect.


To the editor: My father, a forestry engineer, planted trees wherever we lived to restore the oxygen our family members used. I love trees, but careful research is needed when selecting which to plant in urban areas.

A Culver City resident for many years, I have enjoyed the shade and beauty of the ficus trees, but not the expenses to repair the damage they have caused to my plumbing, driveway and yard.

Now that I am disabled, it is even more important to be sure that our mobility is not compromised by ficus trees, which often damage sidewalks. Let’s put the welfare of our citizens first.

Janet Hoult, Culver City



To the editor: The ficus fracas in Beverly Hills and the recent ruling against the city of Los Angeles in a legal battle between trees and sidewalks reflect both cities’ unwillingness to thoughtfully address conflicts between the tree canopy and mobility in our urban landscape.

It’s a false choice in many cases to say a tree has to die in order to save a sidewalk. This is especially true with the Robertson Boulevard trees in Beverly Hills.

In that area, a workable plan should be able to save every other tree, or even one of every three. The benefits of those majestic trees justify saving as many as possible.

California cities should stop pitting trees against sidewalks and do the work to address the health of both.

Cary Brazeman, Los Angeles