AP NEWS

144-year-old tree at historic Los Angeles monument collapses

March 9, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A fig tree that for 144 years shaded the brick plaza where the city of Los Angeles was founded has fallen.

The Los Angeles Times reports one of four Moreton Bay fig tree circling El Pueblo de Los Angeles toppled earlier this month during a Chinese lantern festival.

The trees were planted in 1875 by a city councilman, around the time Ficus trees were brought from Australia to Southern California to provide shade and ornamentation.

Frank McDonough, a botanist with Los Angeles County, said the trees became unhealthy when the ground beneath their canopy was covered with concrete, preventing fallen leaves from decomposing and enriching the soil.

A city arborist who inspected the surviving trees at the plaza said they remain in good shape.