TEMPE OPTS TO PLANT MORE FICUS TREES
The lush, fast-growing Ficus tree has become an iconic symbol in downtown Tempe, but the trees are not without problems. In some planting locations the trees have suffered from sunscald and a disease called Sooty Canker has infected some Ficus trees. Larger Ficus trees also attract Grackles, which causes merchants and shoppers to complain about bird droppings.
As older Ficus trees were removed Tempe decided to try Chinese Pistache trees to replace the Ficus trees. The two main complaints about the Chinese Pistache were that it didn’t grow as large as the Ficus trees and it lost its leaves in the winter.
The Tempe City Council finally settled the debate with a unanimous vote to keep planting Ficus trees in the downtown district. Although young Ficus trees will block store signs, Tempe tree trimming crews will gradually prune off lower tree branches to improve sign visibility.