Laguna Beach considers cloning iconic 135-year-old pepper tree to preserve its history – Orange County Register

LAGUNA BEACH — The 135-year-old Rogers pepper tree, an iconic and sentimental landmark in front of City Hall, is decorated in lights for the city’s annual Hospitality Night and for many locals is as synonymous with Laguna as its art festivals, picturesque coves and greenbelt.

But over time the 36-foot-high tree has become diseased and now is as much as 90 percent hollow in parts of its trunk, which at the widest is 62 inches in diameter.

Over the past several months, debate over the tree’s safety has led to the formation of a subcommittee and multiple reviews by arborists, who say the tree — planted by homesteader…

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