Bridge Street oak trees to be removed
Released: Friday 3 December 2021
Council has resolved to remove the large 70-year old oak trees in Bridge Street as soon as possible and trees in adjoining streets – Campbell and Logan will also be removed in the 2022-23 financial year.
“Following the recent incident where a tree fell in high winds, it was evident that the root ball was extremely small for the height and weight of the trees. The root ball was also very flat which indicates that the roots had hit a hard layer, likely rhyolite,” said Phil Parker, Council’s Parks and Reserves Manager. “Tree health inspections we conduct every two years would not reveal this. Given it is likely that the rhyolite band extends the full length of Bridge Street, coupled with the height and weight of the trees, leaving the oaks in place is not the right thing to do.”
Council knows that some in the community will be disappointed by this decision, but we now know, given the flattened root system and the weight it is carrying, that the trees need to be removed for public safety. Council will replant with more suitable street trees for the built CBD environment.
There was the suggestion that we don’t fell the entire tree and instead leave an elongated stump that could be carved into talking poles. Unfortunately, the wood is highly unlikely to be suitable for carving. Quercis (Oak) is native to the Northern Hemisphere, and in those colder climes naturally grows slowly and produces dense heartwood as a result. Alternatively, Oaks growing in New Zealand’s temperate climate grow faster, but produce less durable heartwood. Oak trees have good natural ability to compartmentalise. Compartmentalisation is the process whereby when a tree is wounded it begins to protect itself by slowing or preventing the spread of disease and decay by forming walls around the wounded area. Given the age of the trees, it is unknown to what degree they have had to compartmentalise over the years given their being situated within a built environment.
Council staff are looking at options regarding the felled trees and will be liaising with local wood suppliers. Planning is starting immediately to have the trees felled as soon as possible with urgency.
ENDS. Words: 364