City Street Services workers finished planting a trio of Chinese Pistache trees this morning at the same corner where the city had had cut down a pair of large ficus trees a few weeks earlier, drawing complaints from many residents and a promise of replacement trees by Councilman Eric Garcetti. The skinny sapling planted this morning joins two other young trees with twig-like trunks that were planted this weekend at the busy corner of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. The new saplings don’t compare in size to the approximately 40-foot high ficus trees, which had shaded the corner bus stop. But the Street Services workers said the Chinese Pistache could eventually grow as tall as the ficus, where were removed to repair a buckled sidewalk. “They’re good for shade,” said one of the workers.
The Chinese Pistache, according the Arbor Day Foundation website, is often considered an “ugly duckling” that over the years grows from “an unattractive and misshapen young tree” into a “magnificent specimen tree.” (Workers noted that this variety of Chinese Pistache does not drop nuts).
While the roots of the large ficus were blamed for cracking the sidewalk, they did provide a shady spot for bus passengers. This morning, with the morning sun beating down on the corner, two passengers waiting for the next Dash bus stood in two small rectangles of shade created by the bus shelter and a sidewalk sign.
“I was very sad when they cut them down,” said Rosa, a Dash bus rider, of the ficus trees. “They were much needed.”