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Lake Balboa's Famous Cherry Blossom Trees Are Dying Off

A photo posted by Alex Carrillo (@alexc43) on

The Japanese cherry blossom trees by Lake Balboa at Anthony C. Beilenson Park are sort of famous. There are (or were) about 1,000 of them, making for an awesome display when in bloom, but over the last five years, half of the trees at the lake have died, according to a Department of Recreation and Park survey from September; "much of the other half appears to be on life support," says the LA Daily News. The cherry trees at Lake Balboa were a gift from a Japanese-based company that had an office in the Valley and were first planted in 1992. Now, of the more than 1,000, only 486 are still alive, and more than half of those are in "poor or critical condition."

Though this variety of cherry tree was chosen specifically because it would be able to weather the Los Angeles climate, "hotter drought years haven't provided enough chilly nights below 45 degrees," which are vital to the trees. Less rain means fewer opportunities for the salts and minerals left behind by recycled water to be washed away. Also, these trees are on city park land, which means that they're subject to city water restrictions. All these factors have combined to create a "perfect storm against cherries." But it just goes to show that maybe LA wasn't the best place for this kind of tree in the first place. The head of the Forestry Division of the Department of Rec and Parks says that as of now there are no plans to replant the trees, and that "As the trees die, they'll be removed." In other words, once they're gone, they're gone.
· Lake Balboa's cherry trees fall victim to drought [LADN]
· LA's Trees Are Dying Off Faster Because of the Drought [Curbed LA]