The drought is killing off Lake Balboa’s cherry trees

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But more than half of those trees have died in the past five years, according to the L.A. Daily News, falling victim to too little rain, warm winters and drainage issues in the Sepulveda Basin. Most of the remaining trees are ailing.

The trees at Lake Balboa, which is part of Anthony C. Beilenson Park, were first planted about a quarter century ago and made up one of the largest concentrations of cherry trees in the country. Parks officials say they thrived for years, but have been in steady decline during the drought.

lbcherrytrees0Overall, officials say that between four and six percent of the estimated one million trees in L.A. city parks have either died or are at risk of dying because of warmer-than-usual weather and the drought.

There are no plans to plant new cherry trees at Lake Balboa. Instead, the Parks Department will team up with other city agencies and the U.S. Forest Service this coming sprint to test out a dozen species of trees at local parks to find which are most suitable for a changing L.A. climate.

The four-year drought has been taking a heavy toll on trees statewide. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that 12.5 million trees in California have died during the drought, with millions more likely to succumb. dead trees pollock

The effects are being felt from Sequoia National Park to the state Capitol in Sacramento, where officials are removing up to 1,000 trees to conserve water, including a historic grove that was planted with saplings from Civil War battlefields.

To be clear, no one is recommending letting trees die because of the drought. Both water and environmental experts say water conservation should generally be directed to other vegetation. In fact, state officials have issued guidelines about how to take care of your trees during the drought.