The 100-foot pine is leaning precariously over a path that winds through the Encinitas garden’s rain-forest area, said a statement.
“Sadly for San Diego Botanic Garden, we have to do some logging in our own rain forest, in order to ensure the safety of our visitors and the other plants in this exhibit,” said Julian Duval, president and CEO.
Larger pieces of wood will be made into furnishings for the Larabee House, as well as items for the gift shop.
Staff determined that the tree could be a hazard to visitors and other trees and plants in the area, so its removal was the best and safest option.
The garden’s website noted that the garden’s rain forest area will be closed until July 1 on account of the pine’s removal.
“We feel deeply the loss of this historic and rare Torrey Pine tree that has been a part of our collection since the Larabees planted it more than 60 years ago,” Duval said Monday.
The tree is one of three Torrey Pines in the garden’s waterfall deck area. It was defoliated in 2006 when several large fungal conks were found at its base.
Pat Nolan, a plant pathologist with San Diego County, took specimens from the fungal conks and found that they belonged to a genus of largely parasitic species.
For the next several years, the tree continued to be in reasonably good condition, said garden officials.
However, that changed over the past year, prompting the removal decision.
The other two Torrey pines in the grove, both over 100 feet in height, remain in good health and “will continue to be a majestic part of the garden’s collection,” officials said.