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Santa Monica’s Palisades Park to Get Fungus-Resistant Palms


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

October 16, 2017 -- The City Council last week moved forward with a plan to replace more than 50 diseased palm trees removed from Santa Monica’s historic Palisades Park.

The work to replace the Canary Island date palms in the park’s iconic “colonnade” along Ocean Avenue will begin next spring, City officials said.

California-based B & B Nurseries, Inc., plant the replacement trees under a contract not to exceed $243,427, including a 10 percent contingency, approved by the Council Tuesday.

Canary Island Date PalmCanary Island date palm (Botanical Illustration c.1770s) About a quarter of nearly 200 Canary Island date palms in the park’s iconic “colonnade” have died from Fusarium oxysporum, an untreatable disease, and have been removed over the past decade by the City.

The City has used improved pruning to slow the spread of the highly-infectious disease, officials said.

The contractor will be responsible for planting about 56 replacement palms of strains believed to be more resistant to the fungus, a report by Susan Cline, the City’s director of public works, said.

It is a one-year contract.

Palisades Park dates back to 1892. It spans 26 acres and includes more than 1,200 trees, nearly half of which are palms.

One of the park’s iconic features is the palm-tree colonnade, which includes about 370 Mexican fan palms and 226 Canary Island palms.

Considered the largest commonly grown ornamental palm in the world, the Canary Island date palm is often used to line boulevards.

It is characterized by a thick trunk and dense majestic crown whose fronds can stretch some 15 feet in length.

Phoenix Date Palm

After a year of examination, City staff formulated a planting plan for the colonnade, which includes about 56 planting locations and the use of three new palm species.

Cline said any additional infected palms on the colonnade will also be replaced but at a slower pace.

The replacement palms will be 31 male Phoenix dactylifera date palms, 16 Washington filifera palms and nine Washington filibusta palms.

Phoenix dactylifera date palm (Courtesy Real Jardin Botanico, Madrid, Spain)


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