The tree that outgrew Echo Park

Aug 20, 2013

There is some good and bad news for Echo Park ficus fans. Four of the large trees that loom over the north side of Sunset Boulevard between Echo Park Avenue and Logan Street will be trimmed pruned but not removed as part of a street and sidewalk improvement program.  But apparently one Sunset Boulevard’ largest ficus, which rises like a green cloud in the 1500 block of Sunset Boulevard between McDuff Street and Laveta Terrace,  remains on the chopping block.

Christine Peters with Council District 13 posted an update on the Echo Elysian Forum about the approximately three-dozen trees that will be cut down and replaced with new trees  considered more suitable for city streets and less likely to cause sidewalk damage.  While the city’s Bureau of Street Services agreed to a request to spare the trees on Sunset between Echo Park Avenue and Logan Street, the giant ficus on the 1500 block has grown to big to be  pruned.

The ficus  is at least 50-feet high, towering above a lamppost that has been swallowed up in a tangle of leaves and branches.  A thick, white trunk scarred with tagging supports a canopy that spreads out about 65-feet wide, blotting out the sun, smushing up and over the two-story buildings and reaching nearly half way across Sunset Boulevard.  At the base, the tree’s roots have buckled the sidewalk and shifted pieces of concrete.

Peters, on the Echo Elysian Forum said:

The one very large Ficus at McDuff in fron of Dr. Perez’s office will remain posted [for removal]. It was determined to be too large to safely root prune and not risk tipping over.

A public hearing will be scheduled to allow residents to weigh in on the tree removal, according to black-and-white notices from the city’s Urban Forestry Division  that have been taped to the 37 trees that will be cut down. A hearing date has not yet been set but the Bureau of Street Services expects the tree cutting to begin in 60 to 90 days.

Residents who would like to be notified of the public hearing can sign up online by clicking here.

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