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L.A. lost a 144-year-old fig tree. Here’s why a native oak should replace it

L.A. lost a 144-year-old fig tree. Here’s why a native oak should replace it
The Moreton Bay fig at El Pueblo de Los Angeles toppled on March 2. (El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument)

To the editor: With a touch of nostalgia, we bid farewell to a fig tree that stood in the birthplace of Los Angeles for 144 years before collapsing suddenly on March 2.

She was a Mediterranean species, and she had, so to speak, a good run. But looking to the warmer, more arid future that climate scientists predict, it is important to choose a California native, drought-tolerant species for the replacement tree. A Quercus agrifolia, known more commonly as the coast live oak, would be appropriate.

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I suggest planting as young a tree as possible and surrounding it with a few acorns of the same species and variety. The new oak could be surrounded by other California native species that ordinarily coexist with Quercus agrifolia and that would eventually form an appropriate understory for the oak.

As the surviving fig trees in El Pueblo de Los Angeles expire, which they are likely to do, native oaks could replace them as well.

Susan Klenner, Woodland Hills

..

To the editor: What an amazing story about the demise of the 144-year-old Moreton Bay fig tree in downtown Los Angeles.

There was such a sense of awe reading your article until you got to the very end, where someone thought it worthy to quote a neighbor as saying, “A tree is a tree is a tree.” I’m not sure which is sadder, the tree’s demise or the neighbor’s perspective.

Jean Ratkowski, Long Beach

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