Elysian Park has been planted with a grove of more than 100 knee-high palm trees that will one day replace the majestic Canary Island Date Palms that are slowly dying from a fatal tree fungus.
The new trees – Chilean Wine Palms, Jubaea chilensis – were recently planted in between the century-old palms that have risen about 50 feet high along the Avenue of the Palms, a section of Stadium Way that has served as a memorable back drop for classic car shows, music videos, Dodger opening day parties and picnics. More trees have also been planted on nearby Academy Road.
A fatal fungus – Fusarium wilt – that has killed off Canary Island palms from Spain to Santa Monica has also spread to the Elysian Park trees. Faced with the prospect of a forest of dead palm trees, the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park, a nonprofit park support group, came up with a proposal to plant disease-resistant palms. The new palms and irrigation system were paid for with a fund earmarked for Elysian Park improvements.
As the Canary palms die off, “they will be carefully removed, bagged and hauled so as not to spread the fusarium wilt spores,” said a member of the park group. The 15-gallon replacement palms, which are planted behind boulders to protect them from cars, will not look exactly like the existing trees but they are not vulnerable to to the fungus.
While the pint-size palms may not look much like now, they are certain to make an impression on park visitors in the decades to come.