The Journal of San Diego History
January 1958, Volume 4, Number 1
Jerry MacMullen, Editor

No doubt the most notable historical casualty of this year, and many another, was the famous Serra Palm, which was cut down on June 6, 1957.

It had been ailing for a long time. Only recently six .44 caliber lead slugs had been removed from its long trunk, but tree surgeons estimated that it still held a bucketful, too deeply embedded for safe removal. Its leaves were not getting the sap needed to keep the tree healthy; poor circulation, it seems, is a disability of old age in trees as well as people. The spraying of a nutrient solution on the leaves to compensate for this condition did not avail, so the old monument had to come tumbling down among its guy wires, a section at a time.

In recent years it has been given increasing antiquity until it was said to have dated from the time of the first sacred expedition, that of 1769; Bancroft, however, held that there were no trees planted here until the turn of the 19th Century.

This does not, however, impeach its reputation as the oldest planted tree in California and one of the now rare living souvenirs of a stern and valiant age.