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Coral Tree in Glen Alla Park Cut Down

Earthquake may have contributed to tree's damage.

Glen Alla Park lost one of its favorite climbing trees Thursday morning.

The coral tree located in the west quadrant of the park, off Glencoe Avenue near the rock slide in the Shanes Inspiration Playground, was cut down because it cracked in half overnight and fell on part of the playground fencing. 

Carlos Perez is an employee for the city and part of the crew that cut the tree down. He said that the city had been watching this tree for a few months because it appeared to be compromised by a huge crack down the middle of the trunk.  

 morning may have struck the final blow for the tree. Neighbors living near the park said that it felt like a sharp snap, waking many residents abruptly. 

Perez said it smelled like sewage when they were cutting the tree down, so perhaps it was "already deteriorating." The city workers were finished cutting the tree down by 9:30 a.m. and all that remains is the stump and the sawdust. Another company will be hired to remove the stump, according to Perez.

Coral trees are the “official Trees” of Los Angeles, and many are in danger of collapsing because they aren’t being trimmed often enough by the city, according to arborist Lisa Smith in 

Smith told Brentwood Patch that “because coral trees are tolerant of drought conditions, they grow more quickly when they are growing in turf zones that are consistently watered. This heavy irrigating can also encourage a heavier canopy and thus more limb failures.” 

The trees are native to Africa and are susceptible to overwatering and overgrowth.

“The city doesn’t have the funds to adequately maintain them, and hasn’t for a while,” Smith told Brentwood Patch.

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apmarina July 27, 2012 at 05:00 AM
The irony is, it sounds like we had an ecologically beneficial tree, one that didn't require a lot of watering and so would save the taxpayers money. But it died because of overwatering? The city should have spent less money on watering, and more on trimming I guess.
Susan M. Ottalini July 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The overwatering was caused by the fact that they plant grass all around for the Park... and that grass takes a lot of water to stay green, but it is not good for these particular trees. One of the sources I spoke to said that these trees are great if they keep them trimmed, but they grow so fast that it is difficult to keep up with them. Another source said that the city had cut the personnel responsible for the trimming by 50%! This is now a dangerous situation because of the overall lack of maintenance and overgrowth.
Jared Morgan July 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I've heard that some grass has a browning stage that doesn't necessarily mean that it's dead. Coral trees certainly shouldn't be overwatered--a lesson learned in Brentwood over and over again--maybe the grass doesn't need so much water either.
Susan M. Ottalini July 27, 2012 at 07:03 PM
It would actually be nice if the watering system was repaired in Glen Alla Park. We have an ongoing flooded Paddleboard court problem...Thanks Jared for your great story about the Brentwood Coral Trees. I just spoke to Andrea Epstein, PR lady with Rec and Parks Department. She said they have over 1million trees to maintain and their department has been reduced by 25% since 2008. Their numbers went from 2000 full time employees to under 1500 and part-time employees went from 8000 to 3000 in four years. There are many divisions/departments that maintain trees in our area from the street department and public works to DWP.
Kristine Wendt July 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM
oh no! I LOVED that tree! How did they over water the tree when they hardly ever water the grass???
Susan M. Ottalini July 28, 2012 at 07:37 PM
These trees are "short lived" according to Lisa Smith, my arborist. This one was 40 years old which is very old...so I suppose we should be grateful for its beauty and shade for so many years.
aj September 07, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Now they are cutting multiple trees down on Admiralty way. What gives. they were really nice trees. Are they going to replace them?
Amber January 14, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Yes, why is the city cutting the coral trees on Admiralty way. This was one of the most scenic roads because of the coral trees. I hope they don't cut the ones on Via Marina, too.
apmarina January 14, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Amber - Admiralty and Via Marina are in the County, not the City. You should ask the County Beaches & Harbors Dept.

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