April 20, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

San Vicente Coral Tree’s Under Threat

Brentwood’s iconic trees face aging and pests.

By Keldine Hull

For decades, the Brentwood community has been home to “Cultural Heritage Monument #48”- the sweeping coral trees that line San Vicente’s median. They’ve become synonymous with Brentwood and a unique part of its beauty. Nancy Freedman, Brentwood resident for over 40 years and former BCC Chair, talks about the historical significance of the coral trees as well as their importance within the community. “A Red Line train ran on the median which was removed when the politicians in mid-century decided cars would be the future and freeways the answer,” Freedman begins. “The train traveled from Santa Monica to Downtown and through a portion of the VA. In the place of tracks and train, the official tree of Los Angeles, the coral, was planted in two sections.  One was Brentwood, the other continues in to Santa Monica.” Freedman continues, “It is the wrong tree for the median, but has been enjoyed for their beauty and diversity.  People love the corals and feel they are the icon for our community.  They are growing old and like people, we mourn their loss, but trees do die.  We have attempted to give them a good life as a community contributing to them financially and emotionally.”   

It was the community that rallied together to foster the beloved trees. Freedman continues, “The community took on the responsibility because the City was trimming trees once every seven years at some point in its history.  The corals need annual trimming as they are fragile and branches break if too heavy.” Freedman adds, “A group of dedicated residents led by Barbara Goldenberg kept watch for decades. Even though some have grown quite large, they are very much affected by factors beyond human control.”

According to Donald R. Hodel, Environmental Horticulture Advisor for the University of California, Cooperative Extension for 36 years, a combination of issues have contributed to the loss of California’s coral trees. “There are two main problems, and both of them are new pests that have come into Southern California in the last several years,” Hodel begins. “One is called the Erythrina Stem Borer. That’s a moth which lays eggs in the tips of the branches in the leaves. The eggs hatch and the larvae burrow into the tip of the branch and kill it. The plants response is to put out new growth, but the moths lay eggs in those. Eventually all the tips are dead and growth stops.” Hodel continues, “There’s another small insect called the Invasive Shot Hole Borer. This one lands on the trunk or main branches and burrows into the trunk where it lays its eggs. This one is doubly bad because it brings with it a pathogenic fungus. Not only does the insect make mechanical damage to the trunk and branches through all these holes, but the fungus starts growing and attacks the tree. When it lays eggs, the eggs hatch and the larvae needs something to feed on and so they feed on the fungus. They don’t feed on it enough to kill it so then the fungus kills the trees too.”

While coral trees are native to South Africa, the similarities in climate between Los Angeles and South Africa make California an ideal home for coral trees. Hodel explains, “Coral trees come from a climate quite like ours, and they don’t really like a lot of water. But people usually plant them in places where they get watered way too much and they fertilize and they get all this rank growth. The branches often fall out. Once established, these trees probably don’t need much water other than rain.” The coral trees lining San Vicente are the most prone to overwatering and fertilization.

Despite their beauty and important place in California’s landscape, the prognosis for the coral trees is bleak. A sick tree at the corner of Bundy and San Vicente was removed just last week. Hoder explains, “There has been some success with spraying to control the Invasive Shot Hold Borer. There’s a little bit of success controlling the Erythrina Stem Borer, but really this means constantly spraying the trees. I don’t know if people would be willing to tolerate that.” Hoder continues, “The way it’s looking right now, it’d be really difficult to have coral trees. It’s quite sad.”

Related Posts

Make Science Your Destination This Summer

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids with over 15 STEM activities weekly, three science stations...

Prime Time Sports Camps Coming Soon

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Prime Time Sports Camp has remained a constant in the everchanging camp landscape for over 30 years by following this...

Groundlings Summer Improv Classes Open April 2

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A summer of improvisation is around the corner at The Groundlings.  Three months of summer class offerings for teens will...

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm  Doors open at 10am!!

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm  Doors open at 10am!! Free goodies!!...

Venice Kush Hosts “The Real Deal” Cannabis Celebration at the Beach

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A Day of Education, Innovation, and Community at Venice Beach Venice Kush is gearing up to host its much-anticipated “The...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew Interview; Now Playing at the Nuart Theatre

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

Nicolas Cage Stars in Arcadian: A Bewitching Apocalypse

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

New Horror Film Delivers Solid Monster Movie Experience Arcadian is a new horror film starring Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario, Mandy),...

Westside Woman Pleads Guilty to $2M COVID-19 Loan Fraud, IRS Scam

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Suspect Admits to Wire Fraud, False Claims in Elaborate Scheme Casie Hynes, a resident of the Mid-City area, entered a...

Body Found Abandoned in Stolen U-Haul Truck in Los Angeles Mid-City

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

LAPD Investigates Disturbing Discovery After Worker Reports Foul Odor Authorities are probing a disturbing incident after a body was discovered...

(Video) Award-Winning Pianist to Premiere “Rocket Man: A Live Orchestral Experience” in Santa Monica

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Classic Songs Will Include “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @culvercitywlanews “Rocket Man” is coming soon to Santa Monica...

Tito’s Tacos to Introduce New Chicken Burrito for Cinco De Mayo

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Beloved Westside Eatery Unveils Fresh Addition to Timeless Menu Tito’s Tacos, a cherished Los Angeles establishment renowned for its timeless...

Michael’s Santa Monica Celebrates 45 Years with Culinary Extravaganza With Famous Chefs

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Iconic Restaurant Hosts “Great Party!!” Benefitting No Kid Hungry Campaign  Michael’s Santa Monica is set to commemorate its 45th anniversary...

Los Angeles Times Presents Star-Studded Lineup for 29th Festival of Books This Weekend

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Over 550 Writers and Celebrities to Grace USC Campus for Weekend Extravaganza The Los Angeles Times has a stellar lineup...

Girls Learn Self Defense at Empowerment Summer Camp for Girls

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

This summer, girls are invited to explore practical self defense training at SHIELD Women’s Self Defense’s 2024 Empowerment Summer Camp...

Brentwood Art Center: Kids Explore Fundamentals of Drawing, Painting and Mixed Media

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

The beloved Brentwood Art Center is hosting summer camps at its new location at Olympic and 17th in Santa Monica. ...