In News on Wednesday 4th Oct, 2017

The sad reason the skyline of Los Angeles is changing

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When you think of images of Los Angeles there's usually images of streets lined with palm trees involved. They are as much of the landscape as the historic buildings themselves. Being featured in movies has helped seal the deal, making them an internationally recognised symbol of LA.

However, that is all about to change, thanks to bugs and fungus. 

A report in Los Angeles Times says the South American palm weevil and Fusuriuym, a deadly fungus, are eating away the palm trees and there's nothing that can stop them. The weevil has already killed hundreds of date palms in Canary Island, and there are no natural enemies of the creepy-crawly in the area.

When the weevil burrrows into the leaf base it lays eggs. When those eggs hatch the larvae moves to the trunk, eating the core and causing it to rot. To make matters worse, the fungus is native to California soil, and attacks palms that are overwatered or in wet soil. 

The palm tree was originally imported to the region, but found its place as a local icon. But, their star status is not enough for the local Recreation and Parks department to replace them once they've gone. Instead, they are being replaced with natives trees. 

Experts say over the next 50 years, there will be a huge loss in palms. Residents of LA have been told not to move palm tree waste from one area to the other and not to use a chainsaw to trim palm trees. They have also been advised to use local firewood.

It was once estimated there were 75,000 palm trees lining the streets of LA. What a difference it will make to the city and the streetscape when they are no more.

Would you feel differently about LA without all its palm trees?