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Piece of Lang Oak Tree to Be Unveiled at Park

April 22, 1999|AGNES DIGGS

The historic Lang oak tree is gone, but it will not be forgotten, thanks to the work of Encino residents, private organizations and city officials.

An 8-by-6-foot oval piece of the Lang oak will be unveiled at the site at 10 a.m. today during a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

It took five trees to replace the 1,000-year-old oak that grew in the median strip of Louise Avenue, just south of Ventura Boulevard. Three California sycamores and two coast live oaks, along with extensive foliage, now grow where the Lang oak once stood.

The venerable oak once stood 75-feet tall with a girth of 24 feet and a 150-foot leaf spread. It was a coast live oak, genus Quercus agrifolia. But most area residents knew it as Old Lang or the Lang oak.

Old Lang was new when the Viking Leif Ericsson reportedly explored North America. It was thriving before Europeans lay claim to this land.

The community of Encino grew up around the majestic tree and in 1963 it was declared a historic monument. Until 1994, residents picnicked in its shade. By then the landmark was being suffocated by pollution and infested with fungus.

On Feb. 7, 1998, El Nino delivered the death blow, felling the ailing tree with storm winds.

The Lang oak site restoration project has been a joint effort by Street Tree, Save Our Oaks, Encino residents and Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who will attend the ceremony.

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