Where Are All the Ficus Trees Going?

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Photo By:Edward Tovmassian

Magnolia Blvd is known for its towering Ficus trees that line the sidewalks creating shade over the eclectic small businesses of the ever growing Magnolia Park. But in the past few years, neighbors and community members have been witnessing the removal of these 30 year old giants, questioning the reason for their recent disappearance.

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The Magnolia Park Reforestation Plan is a 15-year plan approved by the city to remove the Ficus trees ranging from the I-5 freeway bridge to the Burbank/NoHo border along Magnolia Blvd and along Hollywood Way from Clark to Chandler. The restoration plan was created to resolve a number of issues created by these enormous trees.  Although they do provide a beautiful canopy for shops and their customers, their persistent growth requires costly trimming and pruning. The Ficus roots have also created significant damage to sewers, curbs, sidewalks, and property resulting in huge amounts of money from the city for repairs. On top of that, the Ficus Whitefly and Sooty Canker disease threaten the trees imminent future. 

Photo By:Edward Tovmassian

The Magnolia Park Reforestation Plan is coming into its 5th year now and is a slow and gradual process that seeks to remove approximately 15 Ficus trees per year. According to the City of Burbank the strategy outline is to remove every 15th tree in order to minimize the effect on the canopy of each block. The removal pattern will allow new trees to grow before others are removed. The trees to be planted in place of the Ficus include Pink Trumpet trees on the corners and Chinese Pistache trees down the middle of the blocks. 

Pink Trumpet trees can be found around Burbank and are known for their beautiful pink flowers in the late winter and early spring.  While a wonderful sight the shedding of these flowers flood the streets and sidewalks in the later seasons. Despite the nutcase the city has found that their tree roots are more tolerant to trimming and pruning from the Forestry service allowing for a more stable infrastructure. The Chinese Pistache that are being planted are deciduous trees that turn a vibrant red in the fall, and while they do contain berries, they are not thought to be a litter problem according to the City of Burbank.

Photo By:Edward Tovmassian

Although Magnolia Park will not look the same without the Ficus tress, the Pink Trumpets and Chinese Pistache will still give this tourist district the charm and appeal it deserves.  For more information, please call Forestry Services at 818.238.5304.

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