New Trees By The Sea: City installs three Monterey Cypresses in La Jolla’s Scripps Park

City crews install new Monterey cypress trees in Scripps Park the morning of Oct. 29.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Crews were on site in Scripps Park early Tuesday morning, Oct. 29 to replace the rumored “Lorax Tree” with three new Monterey cypress trees. Other trees were also planted in the park, including a Star Pine in the picnic area.

The old 100-foot Monterey cypress — long-believed to have inspired children’s book author Dr. Seuss to write “The Lorax” in 1971 — toppled at 7 a.m. Thursday, June 13 and was removed five days later. At the time, the City of San Diego’s arborist suspected the tree fell due to old age, having lived out its average lifespan of 80 to 100 years.

Soon after, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group started pleading with the City to have the tree replaced in kind. However, there are challenges with having the Central California-native Monterey cypress in Southern California.

“Monterey cypress, while native to Northern California, would only work in La Jolla as a Southern California location,” La Jolla Parks & Beaches co-chair Bob Evans said earlier this year. “La Jolla is on the coast and we have a marine layer in the morning, which keeps the Monterey cypress healthy. But the nature of these trees is that they are tender little trees and susceptible to disease, but if they grow in their own dirt (rather than started in a pot and moved), they have a self-preserving ability, which allows them to grow these crazy shapes, like our Lorax Tree did.”

The Monterey cypress trees that were planted in Scripps Park were transported in 36-inch boxes, and are already about 5 feet tall.