The Windsor Square Association (WSA) board discussed and agreed that the City’s mature Ficus trees on Larchmont Boulevard generally should be removed only if they are dead, diseased, or dangerous.
That said, and understanding that trees have a natural life span, a comprehensive replacement plan should be developed and agreed by the City’s Urban Forestry Division, the WSA, the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association (LVNA), the Larchmont Boulevard Association (LBA), and the Larchmont Village Business Improvement District (LVBID). Such a plan should be implemented over multiple decades to ensure that mature trees on Larchmont are there for the enjoyment of future generations.
The foregoing conclusions of the WSA board are based upon the following observations:
(1) According to a report prepared by an arborist retained by the LVBID, using funds provided by the Fourth Council District office, 37 out of the 38 Ficus trees on Larchmont Boulevard between First Street and Beverly Boulevard are in good condition. These Ficus trees have additional life expectancies of up to 20 years. Pursuant to the arborist recommendation, no healthy Ficus tree should be removed unless the adjacent sidewalk first is lifted or removed to allow inspection for root issues and to allow for root pruning.
(2) Larchmont Boulevard Ficus trees give character to our neighborhood shopping area, helping to create the village ambiance that makes Larchmont Boulevard so attractive. Vibrant evergreen leaves look good, and the trees’ canopies provide dense shade to cool and protect the sidewalks. Proper pruning techniques will help ensure the appropriate canopies and tree health. Removing the trees, without good reason, would cause irreparable harm to the shopping district and, hence, to Windsor Square.
(3) “Good reason” to remove a Ficus tree does not include abutting owners’ or tenants’ need to maintain plumbing and sewer pipes, which is a responsibility of stewardship of any property in Los Angeles. The street trees are a public benefit to be protected, and sidewalk repair is a necessary City responsibility that goes along with stewardship of the trees, as is done well by the City of Santa Monica with its mature Ficus trees on Montana Avenue.