Oak trees have quite a rich history here in Southern California having been here longer than us humans. Oak Trees that had been here for 1000s of years were cut down for lumber or fuel, to make room for orchards and later, real estate developers uprooted trees to build new houses and commercial properties.
There are now laws set in place to protect oak trees requiring permits for their removal and punishing violations as a misdemeanor.
Yet many of the region's most treasured oak trees have succumbed to sickness, brought on by overwatering and other effects of surrounding development. In 1942, South Pasadena's Cathedral Oak fell to disease. Even Encino's ancient Lang Oak, which had endured countless storms, earthquakes, and other tribulations since it sprouted from the ground in the tenth century, could not survive long amid suburban development. Already weakened by a bacterial infection, it fell on the night of February 7, 1998, as torrential El Nino rains softened the ground around its massive trunk. The next day, local residents gathered around the fallen giant to mourn.