Los Angeles will not replace dying palm trees – because 'climate change'

Los Angeles’ legendary palm trees are dying – and few will be replaced

A beetle and a fungus are killing off the trees that have become synonymous with the city, making way for trees that give more shade and use less water

Palm trees greet you outside the LAX airport, they line Hollywood Boulevard, stand guard over the Pacific and crisscross neighbourhoods poor and rich, a botanical army of stems and fronds which symbolise the world’s entertainment capital.

Apparently not for much longer. LA’s palm trees are dying. And most won’t be replaced.

A beetle known as the South American palm weevil and a fungus called Fusarium are killing palm trees across southern California. Others are dying of old age. “It’ll change the overall aesthetic because palm trees are so distinctive. It’s the look and feel of Los Angeles,” said Carol Bornstein, director of the nature gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

A city tally in 1990 estimated the number of palms on city streets at 75,000, a number which has not been updated but is destined to plunge in coming decades, the Los Angeles Times reported this week, citing officials.

No one knows how many will die, or how fast. For palm lovers, the even worse news is that they won’t be replaced, perhaps not even mourned.

uthorities will instead plant other species that give more shade and consume less water – important factors for an overheating city. By the middle of the century, LA is expected to be three to five degrees fahrenheit warmer and to have triple the number of extreme heat days.

“Palms are decorative and iconic, but Los Angeles is facing more and more heatwaves, so it’s important that we plant trees that provide adequate shade to protect people and cool the city down,” said Elizabeth Skrzat, programme director for City Plants, the city’s tree planting arm.

Climate change has made California hotter and drier, a boon to bugs that destroy vegetation, said Andy Lipkis, the president of TreePeople, an LA-based advocacy group. Palms afforded LA little protection from heat, drought and flooding, plus they served as a habitat for the Norway rat, but their die-off signalled a wider crisis, he said.

“It’s a wake-up call. Millions of trees are dying in southern California. One price tag for removing the dead trees over the next 30 years is $37bn. Trees have a much harder time growing and thriving in cities today because the climate is much harsher.”

Full story at The Guardian

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Albert Brand
October 2, 2017 6:39 am

Fantastic, I planted Fifty trees 55 years ago (blue spruce) and have one left. Trees are mortal too.What is that attrition rate?

Ron Long
Reply to  Albert Brand
October 2, 2017 6:52 am

In 1989 I used a Siller Brothers CH-54 Skycrane to place a drill rig high on the west slope of the Panamint Mountains in California. This helicopter was on a 30 day job in Los Angeles planting palm trees so I got a deal on the mobe-demobe. The heaviest lift for me was 19,000 pounds, so they could lift a fairly large palm tree. At $6,000.00 per hour it was less costly and less of a political fight to place the drill rig up and take it down than build a road. We discovered a substantial gold deposit which still sits. The pilot was Bill Fife, called “Fifi”, and he was later killed in a helicopter crash in Alaska. So some of the palm trees in the story were 28 years (plus however old when transpolanted) old.

Reply to  Ron Long
October 2, 2017 3:41 pm

Re: Panamint job.
Cool (or not). Sorry it still sits. One of my first gold prospect exams was in Jail Canyon, west side of the Panamints, name lost in the fogs of memory hah!. My only real recollections are the mine cat (HUGE, and very friendly), and they had enough water to run a Pelton-wheel generator.
Oh, and I scored a Toyo Celica at Ontario, a fun ride! Long time ago. 1977 or 78.

Curious George
Reply to  Albert Brand
October 2, 2017 8:11 am

See Climate Change in action? 😉

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  Albert Brand
October 2, 2017 8:41 am

The palms that are in the LA area are not a species that is native to North America, any time you plant non-native trees they tend to have problems. The root system for many of these palms is adjacent to or under an active roadway, not really ideal. Add the fungus problems and zap … But this must be California, the 37Billion to remove about 75,000 trees equates to 1/2 a million per tree, I want some of that action.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
October 2, 2017 10:01 am

The article sort of infers that the beetles and fungus are from AGW. Not true. The beetles like many other pest were introduced and all they need is food, i.e., palm trees. I am betting that LA will replace the trees with an exotic species and I will bet it will consume far more water than a palm tree does.

Bryan A
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
October 2, 2017 10:21 am

The Palms were probably planted for the fact that they don’t drop leaves seasonally. Little maintenance but for occasional trimming and shearing the sides near the leaf ball. Shade Trees tend to drop leaves seasonally and will be more costlier to maintain with clearing out the dead leaves (which will clog storm drains)

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
October 2, 2017 4:54 pm

In Canada for many years David Suzuki made a name for himself by protesting against the common forestry practice of insecticide spraying, claiming that spraying caused greater insect infestations and therefore caused more forest damage than not spraying at all.
However several years ago he tossed all of that away and claimed that insect infestations, like the Mountain Pine Beetle for example, were directly caused by Anthropogenic climate change. He is silent about those decades of insecticide protests, he acts like they never happened.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
October 6, 2017 2:40 pm

We have a lot of trouble with non native trees in Australia. Darn things cannot live in our gardens without water.
We have farm trees as well, bananas they go all right, sugar cane yes, apples , oranges limes lemons etc .
Note we do not have many Australian gardens, too ugly. Mainly English trees.
By the way how are our gum trees going over there in California Italy Spain Middle East etc. poor things cannot survive with too much water.
Some non native trees might have problems, much better.

Reply to  Albert Brand
October 2, 2017 8:28 pm

Better yet, “One price tag for removing the dead trees over the next 30 years is $37bn.”
For 75,000 palms, that $493,000 per tree for removal. What’s going on there?

Reply to  higley7
October 2, 2017 9:24 pm

Its California. Need I say more?

Tom in Florida
October 2, 2017 6:45 am

First of all, there are many types of palms. Many are suited for dry climates. Until they get specific as to which palms they are referring to this is another meaningless article.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Tom in Florida
October 2, 2017 1:38 pm

Well it was in the Guardian, the home of meaningless articles in the UK.

October 2, 2017 6:45 am

I’ve got news for SO CAL : your area has historically been arid and not replanting palm trees ain’t gonna make no damn difference. Someone check out this yokels claim that SO CAL temps
have been significantly hotter than anytime during the past 200 years.

Reply to  arthur4563
October 2, 2017 10:09 am

I’m sure LA has gotten warmer in the last 200 years, although being closer to the equator, the LIA had less if an impact, as did the warming that followed. More importantly, there wasn’t a lot of concrete and asphalt, much less an airport where the official temperatures are measured. Long before freeways and cars, LA still had smog, although the bigger problem was horse sh*t everywhere. Now, rather than the problem coming from a horses ass, it’s coming from the mouths of alarmists.

Philip of taos
Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 2, 2017 10:50 am

So it’s still horseshit.

Reply to  Philip of taos
October 2, 2017 1:21 pm

Your giving horseshit a bad name. At least it can be used for fertilizer.

October 2, 2017 6:49 am

Nearly all of the ‘new’ rampant plant disease problems in the UK are the result of atrociously poor bio-security.
It doesn’t stop ‘them’ blaming climate change.

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
October 2, 2017 7:38 am

but that isn’t the case in the US, where (for example) beetle related die back IS related to climate change (milder winters)

Curious George
Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 8:12 am

Mr. Know-It-All.

Bryan A
Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 10:29 am
tom s
Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 10:40 am

How much will it cost me to make it colder outside Stiff?

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 10:42 am

Could you be a bit more broad in your statement? “Beetle related die back” is stunningly vague. There are entire families of beetles that specialize in feeding on trees and do nothing else. So exactly what trees and what beetle species are you referring to?
What so many seem to miss is that humans tend to like artificially preserved nature. We don’t like it when trees die, as is the case in this article. Unfortunately people don’t seem to realize that trees have an average life expectancy that is tied to species and geographic location (black spruce will live 20-30 years longer at more southerly ends of its geographic range for example). So when trees reach or exceed their life expectancy, often due to human interference in natural successional processes (more often than not by not letting forest fires burn) something else has to come in and do the job – usually insects or diseases (in the original article Fusarium is hardly specific and entirely vague). So while it’s nice to say it’s all about warmer winters (and I would argue that the establishment of mountain pine beetle in Alberta is a result of a series of warmer than normal winters but that trend may or may not continue) more often than not it’s an artifact of humans screwing with the ecosystem. In British Columbia much of the mountain pine beetle outbreak in that province is as a result of human interference (fire suppression, activists not allowing any logging even of old, dying trees) not climate change. I expect the same is largely true of the upper northwest region (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, western South Dakota) of the U.S. – fire suppression means nature had to find another way. We as humans may not like bleak landscapes associated with post-fire destruction but it is absolutely critical to renewal of the forests and the successional processes associated with it. It means a short term decrease in biodiversity measured on a community scale but is essentially short term pain for long term gain.
On a local scale for me many cottage owners in lake country do not want any sort of tree removal. It ruins the view, so to speak. Yet now what they are seeing is relatively severe hazards of deadfall accidents because they refuse to let any trees be removed. Fire suppression is in full force and they don’t want to be at the cottage in an area that has recently burned. They want those trees to be there for their kids and grandkids to see and experience just as they did when they were young. The problem being the life expectancy of most of the tree species in the area ranges from 30-50 years and the majority of the trees are well beyond that. They should have burned based on lightning strikes alone but that was stopped. What they are now experiencing is an influx of insect infestation (entirely natural, all local, no invasive species) that are making it quite readily apparent the trees are dead. Still no action on tree removal, even though they are just setting themselves up for an even hotter fire. But they too are experiencing “beetle related die back” that has precisely nothing to do with climate change.
To further prove the point consider the emerald ash borer (EAB). That esteemed scientific journal Sports Illustrated actually found a schmoe to suggest that EAB was a threat to bat production (baseball bats are made of ash) and that climate change would be a bigger threat to the bat industry allowing the beetle to expand further south. Quite the contrary, EAB is from northern China and prefers cooler climates being more limited by warm temperatures than cool. EAB has nothing at all to do with climate change, it was lazy Chinese pallet makers not treating their wood properly and subsequent exportation into the U.S. We still don’t know the full functional range of the EAB in the U.S. in terms of latitude so it’s quite probably it may threaten the bat industry, but that has nothing to do with climate change driving the distribution.
So one off, simplistic statements about beetle related die back being related to climate change is pretty much an absurd throwaway statement that might fly at a cocktail party. Milder winters are a recent phenomenon but not unprecedented in even recent (~100 years) history.
Not all trees are redwoods that live forever.

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 12:30 pm

Good one, Bryan! Thanks for the laugh.

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 12:41 pm

As usual, what Griff knows to be fact, isn’t.
1) The winters haven’t been mild.
2) The biggest problem has been the lack of forest fires (because of man fighting them) resulting in forest growth becoming too dense.

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 1:24 pm

Get a grip, grif. The beetle problem is due to forestry/fire suppression practices, not climate.

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 6:29 pm

Well, there has been a great loss of ash trees in the U.S. and Ontario due to the Emerald Ash bore which came from infected wood imported from China.
Climate change? Heck No!

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
October 2, 2017 9:08 pm

The 0.x degree rise is capable of the most amazing things.

October 2, 2017 6:55 am

This video sure fits this article.

tom s
Reply to  Kamikazedave
October 2, 2017 10:41 am

Let me give that a big ‘ol…..LOL!!

Reply to  Kamikazedave
October 3, 2017 1:10 pm

‘I talked to the trees …& they came & took me away’ !!
prefer this version – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn8YubD01sk

October 2, 2017 7:01 am

Fusarium wilt is very common in Florida…..hits non true date palms and washintonia palms the most
….exact same palms they are talking about in LA
…No one would consider Florida dry and arid
People writing this are idiots

Reply to  Latitude
October 2, 2017 10:49 am

Fusarium is a stunningly non-scientific description for a disease (referencing the article, not you specifically Latitude). Fusarium itself is the name of a genus of which there are over 100 species that attack plants alone (arguably upwards of 1000). There are Fusarium species that are human and plant pathogens as well.
Really just emphasizing your point about the people writing this stuff. Journalism students tend to stay away from the sciences in school because they are hard and will drag down the GPA. Yet in the end they try to pretend they are knowledgeable about the subject matter once they are employed and writing. Ugh.

Reply to  buggs
October 2, 2017 11:36 pm

T%is is a bit more specific about the Fusarium
husarium Wilt of Canary Island Date Palm1
Monica L. Elliott2
As the name implies, Fusarium wilt of Canary Island date palm is primarily observed on Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island date palm).
The disease is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis.
The leaf symptoms include a one-sided death, wherein the leaflets on only one side of the rachis are desiccated or dead. This is often accompanied by a reddish-brown or dark-brown streak on the petiole and rachis on the same side as the desiccated or dead leaflets. Eventually, the entire leaf dies.
The disease symptoms normally appear first on the oldest (lowest) living leaves, and then progressively move upward in the canopy until the palm is killed.
The only other disease that these symptoms could be confused with is petiole/rachis blight.
Transmission of the fungus from palm to palm is primarily through contaminated pruning tools.
There is no cure for this lethal disease. Fungicides have not been effective against Fusarium wilt.
Since there is no cure, disease management is aimed at disease prevention. A new or disinfected pruning tool should be used for pruning leaves from each individual Canary Island date palm.
A laboratory diagnosis using molecular techniques is required to confirm the Fusarium wilt pathogen.

Larry Geiger
Reply to  Latitude
October 2, 2017 5:31 pm

The native cabbage palms are doing very well, thank you very much!!

D. J. Hawkins
October 2, 2017 7:01 am

I don’t know the history of how palm trees showed up in LA, but it was a bad decision from a water management point of view. IIRC, the transpire 250 gallons per day if they have enough water.

The Rick
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
October 2, 2017 7:23 am

Not being an arborist, nor do I play one on TV, but I suspect there are better indigenous trees more appropriate for that environment (ie ability to fight off disease, suitability for the usual precipitation) to adopt. However, this is SoCal, so I’m sure Moonbeam Brown et al will likely screw up these replanting efforts.

Reply to  The Rick
October 2, 2017 12:43 pm

But you did stay at a Holiday Inn?

October 2, 2017 7:07 am

Everything is political. Can’t some old trees die in peace?

October 2, 2017 7:09 am

They have become a habitat for the NORWAY rat?? What sort of Climate Change are they talking about?

Reply to  JaneHM
October 2, 2017 7:40 am

That’s the brown rat, also referred to as common rat, street rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Norwegian rat, or wharf rat…
It lives about anywhere, in human structures… Norway is not particularly a favourable climate for it

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 10:04 am

Tell us more about rats Griff.

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 10:11 am

And the rabbits Griff, tell us how you’ll get to take care of the rabbits.

Bryan A
Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 10:32 am

Obviously why the rats moved to LA…
A great place for Dates, Coconuts, and home for rats which eat out the insides creating a hollow space and stress the trees.

Reply to  Griff
October 3, 2017 1:58 am

It is called “Norway rat” from the scientific name Rattus norvegicus which is rather inappropriate like many scientific names. Eighteenth century naturalists often didn’t know where a species originated. Norway rat originally came from south-east Asia like most Rattus-species.

Reply to  Griff
October 3, 2017 1:59 am

Note to Griff. It is very common in Norway, and doing very well, thank you.

Reply to  Griff
October 3, 2017 9:13 am

Is it related to the infamous Moonbeam Brown Rat? Speaking of destructive….

Neil Jordan
Reply to  JaneHM
October 2, 2017 10:43 am

It’s special California Climate Change (CCC). And you don’t need to worry about the impending homeless Norway rats. LA just passed a special homeless tax, so some communities are facing sales taxes above 10%.
The creative accountants at City Hall could surely find a way to divert some of that money to help the homeless rats who would otherwise have to live on the streets.

michael hart
Reply to  JaneHM
October 2, 2017 7:26 pm

Back in 1977, The Stranglers devoted a whole album, Rattus Norvegicus, to the topic. Maybe they were thinking of the rats living in palm trees when they sang “Hanging Around”.

Thomas Rayan
October 2, 2017 7:22 am

“People writing this are idiots”
“See full story at The Guardian”
Nuff said.

Reply to  Thomas Rayan
October 2, 2017 7:40 am

funny. They say the same about posters here…

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 8:13 am

Have you apologised to Dr. Crockford for slandering her in order to damage her scientific credibility, you obnoxious little slanderer?

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 9:00 am

that would include you.

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 11:38 am

Griff is most certainly the village idiot. especially this village.
There might be some far-left children’s blogs where he is considered not to be the idiot.

Reply to  Griff
October 2, 2017 12:44 pm

I’m willing to bet that Griff actually believes he has hit us with a paralyzing rejoinder.

October 2, 2017 7:23 am

WOW! $37 billion to remove 75,000 trees?!? That’s almost a half million dollars for each tree! “There’s gold in them there Palms!” Or perhaps this story is a little ambiguous.
Once again, we have another story about the devastation climate change is causing, without any mention of how much the climate has changed. I am sure there was significant local climate change last Century, when L. A. County grew from a population of 170,000 people in 1900 to over 9.5 million people in 2000. The massively growing urban heat Island must have caused significant local climate change, as the palm trees thrived.
So how much has the climate changed over the last 30 years, allegedly due to increasing CO2 in the atmosphere? The article doesn’t say. These articles never say. They can’t say, because the amount of change isn’t even noticeable. Yet, we are expected to believe that this unnoticable difference in climate is causing millions of climate refugees, killing the world’s coral reefs, wiping out whole ecosystems, and several hundred other growing calamities without being any different from past climate.
This is so nuts, we are starting to make the execution of witches seem like a rational reaction to bad weather.
By the way, Palm trees thrive in much hotter climates than L. A.

Reply to  jclarke341
October 2, 2017 9:16 am

The 9.5 million population is for the County of Los Angeles, not the City, However, there are probably a few palm trees in dire straits outside the City, as well.

Bryan A
Reply to  jclarke341
October 2, 2017 10:34 am

Last 30 years … attributable to CO2… probably about +0.2C

October 2, 2017 7:25 am
Reply to  garymount
October 2, 2017 8:26 am

Vancouver is a mild maritime climate you idiot. Snow is not an indicator of a harsh winter climate.
There are many kinds of palm trees. I have never seen one to survive 30 below. The same can be said for left coast idiots.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
October 2, 2017 2:56 pm

We had the harshest winter this year in my 49 years of living in the Vancouver region.
How about a frozen lake as an indicator :

Reply to  Retired Kit P
October 3, 2017 2:05 am

Palm trees have a single growing point at the top of the trunk. If this freezes the tree dies. Consequently palms cannot grow where the temperature drops significantly below freezing for any length of time. This is apparently an insurmountable problem evolution-wise. Palm trees have been around since the Cretaceous and are very successful in tropical regions but are apparently completely unable to adapt to cold winters.

Ken Allen
Reply to  garymount
October 2, 2017 12:07 pm

I grew up in the Isle of Skye (Inner Hebrides, NW Scotland). Many gardens (yards)had palms planted. Obviously not native, but they survived.

Reply to  Ken Allen
October 2, 2017 5:38 pm

Ken – Ciamar a thà an t-Oileann?

Reply to  Ken Allen
October 3, 2017 2:13 am

Skye has an extremely maritime climate with mild winters. They survive in other western coastal locations in Britain and Ireland too, but don’t try it up in the Cuillins.

Ed Bo
October 2, 2017 7:39 am

Cities like Las Vegas have been outbidding LA for years on palms, so for a long time, LA has not been replacing old dying palms with new ones. Palms make lousy street trees anyway, so alternative replacements are an improvement.

Reply to  Ed Bo
October 2, 2017 10:00 am

What is a ‘good’ street tree? One that has branches intruding into the street and drops leaves in the fall!

Bryan A
Reply to  Retired Kit P
October 2, 2017 12:14 pm

Perhaps these types of trees would be good for cities.
1) their branches are directional.
2) they don’t grow up into power lines.
3) no annual leaf falls to clean up.
4) no watering/pruning needed.
5) you might be able to squeeze a little juice from them too.

John F. Hultquist
October 2, 2017 7:59 am

Think of the rats. Where will the go? The Palm trees look like rat tails, so that’s a good fit.
Other: Cutting a tree down costs about 59 cents.
Having the DOT reroute traffic, protecting utilities, police, removal of the tree, and other such, makes the cost increase.
Trees that do not grow over 15 feet tall are a better way.
Small trees die also but are easy to remove and replace.
Still, all trees need water. Artificial trees of many colors seems more like LA.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
October 2, 2017 10:07 am

You left out the crew: three workers on the ground to handle the fallen tree, another one to work the “grabber” that puts the tree in the truck, one truck driver, one to direct the three on the ground, one to direct the grabber buy, one standing by with a shovel in case it is needed, one standing by the shovel guy so he has someone to talk to while waiting to see if he is needed and one supervisor to watch the whole operation. Add in one union rep to make sure no one works too hard and that they take their scheduled breaks.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
October 2, 2017 11:35 am

You forgot the “safety” officer.

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom in Florida
October 2, 2017 12:18 pm

and the OSHA rep

Reply to  Tom in Florida
October 2, 2017 9:29 pm

Tom, that’s brilliant. You definitely have a future in Government! Be well.

October 2, 2017 8:02 am

Making excuses by city hall and planning departments is an art form that pays well for its managers.

Reply to  Resourceguy
October 2, 2017 8:14 am

It is political climate that is changing. To root palms for their water use is one reason, to tell it costs 1 billion a year is just a funny way of putting expenses where they don’t belong. Cutting down a tree is cheap, cutting them down one by one as they die due to invasive species is more expensive.

W Browning
October 2, 2017 8:07 am

Most of the original palms were planted for the 1932 Olympic Games and a bunch more were added for the 1984 Games. So we’re talking about a bunch of really old trees. Just Sayin’

October 2, 2017 8:08 am

If the LA Vietcong managers don’t know the species of palm they think they have it is likely the “replacement tree” will be 20x worse than the current problem. Ha ha

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
October 2, 2017 8:34 am

When they cut the palms down they can always pellet them up and send them over to the U.K. The fact is that palm wood is crap and the entire process would emit vastly more CO2 than it allegedly saves. That won’t worry the brainless morons who conceived and subsidized the Drax power station joke, they will probably love it. Also the “Tree People” (community release scheme for the seriously unwell?) can come and mourn outside Drax as a sort of eco-tourist therapy trip.

October 2, 2017 8:40 am

“By the middle of the century, LA is expected to be three to five degrees fahrenheit warmer and to have triple the number of extreme heat days.”
LOL! Of course, there is absolutely no reason to think this will happen because there is no evidence that CO2 is adding any net heat to the Earth’s atmosphere.
All we get nowadays are wild assumptions from the alarmists.

October 2, 2017 9:09 am

Sigh… Now no one will find the $350,000 under the “Big W”.

Bob Meyer
Reply to  RC
October 2, 2017 6:45 pm

I have confidence in Dorothy Provine.

Steve D
October 2, 2017 9:30 am

In favorable conditions the LA-type palm lives to about 100 years (I’ve read, but who can believe what you read on the web?). I don’t believe the LA area provides the best conditions. It’s time those 1932 plantings (or transplants) fade away.

October 2, 2017 9:50 am

We got palm trees now!
Our son who lives in the Mojave Desert moved to a bigger house where we can park our motor home. The house was vacant for a while with a broken irrigation system. The palm trees survived at least one summer without water. Other trees and most of the landscaping did not.
There used to be two very tall palms with rats nests. The best neighbor gossip about the previous owners when moving was that one of the palms got hit by lighting and set the neighbors back yard and house on fire. Our first task was to remove the other dead trees because they were an extreme fire hazard.
After fixing the irrigation, I set out to learn about the care feeding of palm trees. There are .any, many, different kinds of palm trees. Who knew? I found the information I needed from the local university extension.
First, I learned that disease is spread from tree to tree by not cleaning pruning tools. Not climate change.
Our experience indicates that some palm trees do not need very much water. No where near ‘250 gallons per day’. If getting hit by lighting is an indication, palm trees are very hardy. Lots of little palm trees were coming up around the stump as far as 10 feet away. With a little bit of water, that corner of the backyard had turned into a jungle.
I know from personal experience that not everyone in California is an idiot. MSM just has no interest in reporting about those folks with a little common sense.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
October 2, 2017 12:39 pm

“There are many, many, different kinds of palm trees. Who knew?”
I certainly didn’t.

Reply to  TA
October 3, 2017 2:30 am

About 3000 species. It is a very successful family. Only about half a dozen grow naturally in the US, mostly in southern Florida and southern California. Even Southern California is very marginal for palms, too cold, not too warm.

Bruce Cobb
October 2, 2017 9:51 am

“Trees have a much harder time growing and thriving in cities today because the climate is much harsher.”
The stupid, it burns. Trees require space to grow and thrive. They tend not to do well in asphalt and concrete jungles. Last I checked, space is at a premium in cities. In more northern climes, the use of salt in winter can stress them. I’m guessing that smog probably isn’t very good for them either. Nothing whatsoever to do with “harsher climate”, which itself is a myth.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 2, 2017 10:18 am

Bruce, it seems that concrete and asphalt does not do well when you plant trees to close.
It is my opinion that city folks think that there are environmental problems because the have created a concrete cesspool for themselves. Then they elect idiots who pass laws regulating the minority of us who have lots of trees in our backyards and front yards.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
October 2, 2017 11:30 am

“It is my opinion that city folks think that there are environmental problems because the have created a concrete cesspool for themselves. Then they elect idiots who pass laws regulating the minority of us who have lots of trees in our backyards and front yards.”
It’s depressing. for 35 years half my time was spent on 10 acres I owned surrounded by 30,000 acres of rainforest in Central CA, the other half on 120 acres of mixed aspen/pine forest and grass land on the western slope of the northern Rocky Mountains. I’ve raised livestock my whole life and come from a family that’s done the same for generations.
I’m continually lectured on environment concerns by people who live in urban apartments. Folks who have no experience at all with the natural world, but somehow seem convinced they’re authorities on these subjects because they’re Sierra Club members or they took some classes in college. People who’re frightened by raccoons.
Middleton is right; the stupid, it burns.

J Mac
October 2, 2017 10:42 am

John Wayne airport (Orange County, CA) won’t have the same ambience, without its palm trees!

October 2, 2017 10:52 am

“[uthorities] will instead plant other species that give more shade and consume less water –”
I dispute the assertion that shadier trees use less water. The simple fact that shadier trees have more branches and leaves with increased transpiration suggests increased water use.
What am I missing here?

October 2, 2017 10:55 am

Maybe LA should ACT on their BELIEFS and ask advise from a city that has experience with the ‘predicted’ climate. ……… Like Tripoli …. oops. USA bombed it to the stone age. Maybe Bagdad? Nah…… Dubai, Yes!
What does Dubai use? …. hmmm, palms and lots of water features for evaporative cooling. Anything to break up the concrete jungle.
And since California wants to reduce vehicle emissions to mule cart levels, there is no need for six car lanes. Only the ‘elite’ will have the money and connections for a Tesla. The ‘deplorables’ can ride a bike or take the bus. Two lanes with bicycle lanes and a green divider will suffice.

October 2, 2017 10:59 am

Palm trees are synonymous with Los Angeles, California! We love and we cannot  starve itboff now. We should lunch a formal protest against this decision. The City and State should coordinate their effort to simply replace the desd trees and move on. VIVA LOS ANGELES!Blessing Wiwuga Orage 
Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Tablet

October 2, 2017 12:00 pm

Wow nearly half a million to pull down each tree???

Reply to  Dean
October 2, 2017 12:49 pm

That barely covers the environmental impact statement.

The Reverend Badger
October 2, 2017 1:58 pm

I like the bit about planting new trees to provide shade to mitigate the extra AGW warmth. Presumably the leaves have no intelligence and will be not just shading the humans but also the pavement, commonly known as the surface. Hence lower intensity of solar radiation on the concrete. I think they just solved their problem, bigger and leafier trees. Job done!

October 2, 2017 2:29 pm

Nothing about this article makes much biological sense. Even the rat is wrong – Norway Rats are largely terrestrial – basements, sewers, wood piles and whatever is close to the ground. Roof Rats (Rattus rattus), as one might expect, are the ones that like to climb and are known for nesting in palms.

Gunga Din
October 2, 2017 3:59 pm

I don’t know about LA, but in the Midwest and the East there are lots of streets name “Elm Street”. Not many elm trees left. Dutch Elm disease took them out. Just like the Emerald Ash Borer is taking out the ash trees.
Hmmm….I think I can tie both into Man’s (and only Man’s) CO2 emissions. (Coal powered power plants CO2 is particularly odious.) The Elms are about gone here. But are still some Ash trees.
Obama’s gone so I guess I can’t get a government grant to “prove” it.
Maybe I’ll set up a “GoFundMe” page?
I’m sure all those Hollywood climate experts would rally to the cry, “Save our Ashes!”

October 2, 2017 4:34 pm

Climate change has made California hotter and drier… Trees have a much harder time growing and thriving in cities today because the climate is much harsher.”

Really? I thought I’d check the trends of temperature and precipitation. I went to https://wrcc.dri.edu/monitor/cal-mon/frames_version.html and chose Time Series, on the right. I downloaded the monthly data for the state of California from 1895 (the thick end of 123 years). Excel reports temperature rose about 2°F (1.1°C), or about 1.6°F per 100 yrs. Insignificant. Precipitation rose a small fraction of an inch, maybe a third. Insignificant, but certainly not an alarming fall.
Another piece of alarmist hogwash. I wonder what dataset the Guardian relied on.

Reply to  Richard Treadgold
October 3, 2017 2:38 am

“Climate change has made California hotter and drier”
They might try the (native) California Washingtonia palm. It is one of the hardiest palm species and will survive moderately hard frost, provided it is dry and the afternoons are reasonably warm. It does fairly well in the Mojave.

October 2, 2017 6:12 pm

“Perhaps these types of trees would be good for cities.”
Same basic question. What do you mean by good (or bad)? If your idea of good is the good that electricity does, then your solar PV trees are not very good.

October 2, 2017 7:24 pm

Replace the palm trees with windmills. And gardens with solar panels. Easy.

October 2, 2017 7:50 pm

Any warming in Los Angeles is caused by there being too many people in Los Angeles, too many concrete and bitumen areas, too many cars and not by Climate Change/ Global Warming.

Walter Sobchak
October 2, 2017 9:10 pm

“Palms afforded LA little protection from heat, drought and flooding, plus they served as a habitat for the Norway rat”
Habitat for the Norway Rat? In LA? Those things are a disease vector, and they are not native to North America. Get rid of the damned palm trees. They are not native to California either.
Have you ever heard of anyone lounging in the shade of a palm tree? I thought so.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 3, 2017 2:44 am

California does have native palm trees you know, California Washingtonia Washingtonia filifera

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 4, 2017 12:23 am

I have indeed lounged in the shade of a Phoenix palm. That may have been a very bad idea.

October 2, 2017 9:32 pm

Just wait … legal marijuana is coming to California. It can only get better.

Reply to  Roaddog
October 3, 2017 2:37 am

going to need more trees, if it is going to be ‘shade grown’

Dale Baranowski
October 3, 2017 12:14 am

I’m an arborist of 18 years experience and i raised orchards for 15 years. I live in Israel where palm trees are a normal part of the landscape. I treat tree diseases and insect infestations and the claim that “Climate change has made California hotter and drier, a boon to bugs that destroy vegetation.” is patent nonsense. The metabolic processes of both bugs and vegetation increase with increasing temperature, and though the bugs will be more active in warmer temperatures so too will the immune systems of vegetation act faster and be more effective. Not only that, when temps rise not only do the harmful insects increase in number and activity but their predators also get a proportional boost. These climate-catastrophe clowns wring their hands in angst and only think that the bad bugs will gain the advantage in warmer weather while ignoring – or are ignorant of – the abundant beneficial bugs that will increase proportionally. This is another example of people promoting their agenda on matters of which they have no background knowledge, much less expertise.

October 3, 2017 4:56 am

Well if they’re dying from natural causes probably best to replace them with something else, we don’t keep trying to plant elm trees since Dutch elm disease appeared. And replacing them with things that take less water and provide more shade, if such can indeed be found, sounds like a good idea. I’d have thought more shade would require more leaves taking up more water, but maybe there’s something.
Have my doubts about the place getting warmer though.

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