By Lynne T. Jewell
When was the last time you traveled east or west on the two-mile-plus stretch of Los Feliz Boulevard? Anyone who’s done so can’t help but notice the signature trees of Los Feliz—our big and majestic deodar cedars.
Fifty years ago, these evergreen trees were designated Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) No. 67 by the City of Angels. First planted in 1934 by LFIA and the Los Feliz Woman’s Club (LFWC), they were nominated and accepted as “monuments” in September 1970.
The City’s HCM program has designated more than 1,200 landmarks since it was established in 1962. The majority of the designated landmarks have been awarded to historic and architecturally significant buildings and residences—some related to a famous person or event. But there are exceptions that might surprise you, like the Los Feliz Heights Steps, Travel Town’s Little Nugget and some very special trees: the deodars, the avocado trees on the street of the same name and the Moreton Bay fig trees on N. Vermont Avenue.
Over the years, LFIA with the help of the LFWC and generous community donors have been caring for and replacing these “timbers of gods” as deodars are known in their native Himalayas.
“They grow relatively fast and are happiest once mature with deep, infrequent watering and a plain, mulched collar of soil at least three feet around the trunk’s exposed flared bottom,” said LFIA board member Dee Paul. “The fastest way to kill a deodar is by spraying the trunk while watering the lawn and by installing a flower or ivy bed around the base.”
Paul, who also happens to be a landscape designer, can be seen canvassing the boulevard for trees in need of trimming and removal. Her last survey identified at least half-dozen deodars that need replacing.
Today, there are over 300 deodar specimens along the parkway from Western Avenue to Riverside Drive, some more than 80 feet high with a 40-foot canopy of pendulous branches. The oldest tree is estimated at nearly nine decades old.
“Our deodars are uniquely beautiful and require a community effort to preserve them for future generations to enjoy,” said LFIA’s Paul.