Encinitas CA— A rare and endangered Torrey Pine tree, originally planted by the Larabee family in the late 1940s or early 1950s, will be removed from San Diego Botanic Garden’s collection this week. The diseased, 100-foot tall Torrey Pine is leaning precariously over a path that winds through the Garden’s rainforest area. It was determined by staff that the tree could be a hazard to visitors and other trees and plants in the area, so its removal was the best and safest option.
“Sadly for San Diego Botanic Garden, we have to do some logging in our own rainforest, in order to ensure the safety of our visitors and the other plants in this exhibit,” said Julian Duval, President and CEO. “We feel deeply the loss of this historic and rare Torrey Pine tree that has been a part of our collection since the Larabee’s planted it more than 60 years ago.”
The tree, one of three Torrey Pines located in the Garden’s waterfall deck area, defoliated in 2006 when several large fungal conks were found at its base. At that time, Pat Nolan, a plant pathologist from the County of San Diego, took specimens from the fungal conks and it was determined that the fungus species belonged to a genus of largely parasitic species. For the next several years, the tree continued to be in reasonably good condition. However, that changed over the past year, predicating the removal. The other two rare Torrey Pine trees in the grove, both over 100 feet in height, remain in good health and will continue to be a majestic part of the Garden’s collection.
Fortunately, larger pieces of wood collected from this tree, will be upcycled and made into furnishings for the Larabee House, as well as items for the Gift Shop