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Goodbye, Palma de Reforma: What trees can replace the chilango icon?

A story of more than 100 years in Mexico City will be rooted out this Sunday, April 24. The Palma de Paseo de la Reforma will say goodbye to the Glorieta that has been its home since 1910according to historical reports.

The removal of one of the symbols of the country’s capital responds to the deterioration of the palm tree, according to capital authorities.

After the retirement ceremony, which will begin around 5:00 p.m. this Sunday, La Palma will be transferred to the Nursery Nezahualcoyotl. There, it will be subjected to a treatment, to later be intervened by a group of young artists with the aim of placing it in another place.

In order to fill the enormous void that the palm tree will leave, the head of the Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced that a citizen consultation will be held to decide which new tree will be placed in the Roundabout that connects Paseo de la Reforma with Río Rhin and Calle de Niza.

“It can be a palm tree, but also a grevilia, a ceiba, a jacaranda, an ash, an ahuehuete,” said the president on April 21.

What tree can replace a chilango icon?

Carlos Fredy Ortiz García, coordinator of the Doctorate in Agricultural Sciences, has some recommendations.

The specialist pointed out in an interview with The financial that the first step should be the sanitation of the place, that is, “make an improvement of the soil, an enrichment with beneficial organisms”.

That first step will guarantee that the new tree will be in “a nutritionally rich and favorable site for its development.”

“I believe that another palm can be planted, in good health and good development to preserve the landscape architecture,” he says.

When asked about the characteristics that the tree that replaces La Palma should have, Ortiz García says that you can look for a palm that is about 20 years old, with a height of more than 10 meters. These characteristics would allow transplantation.

“This palm is called phoenix canariensis, It is native to the Canary Islands and belongs to a family called Arecaceae, it is very specific to the Mediterranean area”.

If the citizen consultation that the president of the capital promised results in the placement of another palm tree, Ortiz García recommends that the specimen be in good health and that its condition be followed up.

But that is not the only alternative. The specialist added: “If we want a plant that we put it and forget about it, it could be a more robust plant.”

According to Ortiz Garcia, other options could be jacarandas or ahuehuetes, trees that are associated with Mexico City.

The expert in tropical crop management even added that it is a responsible decision that the capital’s government decides to remove the iconic Palma this Sunday.

“When there is a fungal infection, in this case the pink one, the palm wood it suffers from rotting and there the entire upper part can fall, the leaves that are on top are also dry and those by their own process fall and the air displaces them.

“Then the vehicles that circulate on this side could be damaged,” he added.

Another 492 palm trees in CDMX are in a ‘coma’

A group of experts from Mexico City detected that 492 palm trees “no longer have a solution”, so they will be replaced by specimens of tree species from 4 to 6 meters high, according to the conditions of each site.

Damaged palm trees will be moved to the Nezahualcóyotl Nursery, where they will be given a correct treatment, as in La Palma de Reforma.

In the study work, the specialists also identified around 6,000 palm trees considered vulnerable or susceptible to developing diseases, therefore, they promised to make improvements in soil conditions.

To improve the conditions of the trees in the City, 1,729 palm trees were pruned and 189 dead palm trees were felled. In addition, 300 palm trees have been cleaned and strengthened with the application of plant endotherapy.

In addition, 200 traps were placed for insect monitoring.

In order to compensate for the damage, the Government of Mexico City, through the Ministry of the Environment (Sedema), will serve 12,302 palm trees with an initial investment of 60 million pesos.

In Mexico City there are around 3.5 million trees and 15 thousand palm trees, about 30 percent have some type of pest or disease, that is, a million trees with pest or disease problems. Both diseased and dead trees and palms pose a risk to people by falling or damaging infrastructure.

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