Trees slated to go
An arborist has recommended felling four 100-yearold trees in a lakeside park in Queenstown and the staged removal of the remaining 30-metre high poplars. A mature Lombardy poplar was felled by high winds on January 17, crushing a car parked on Lake Esplanade, damaging other vehicles and destroying a corner of the Lakeside Motel. A risk assessment was carried out on all the heritage poplars in St Omer Park by Auckland-based arborist Samuel Earp, of GreensceneNZ. His report said the fallen poplar snapped at the base and parts of the base were hollow and subject to white rot. There were little outwardly visible indications that the tree was afflicted with rot before it fell, the report said. Twenty-six poplars remain in the park and Mr Earp’s assessment used a visual tree analysis and a resistograph, a device that drives a fine drill into wood and measures resistance to detect structural integrity. Visually, all trees were in generally good health but the resistograph detected pockets of decay and hollows in almost all specimens. Four black poplars at the western end of the park were in generally good health and there were no major concerns regarding structural integrity. Four Lombardy trees should be removed and the remaining trees’ crowns chopped back by one third to minimise risk. The report recommended a staged removal of the remaining trees and replanting. ‘‘The potential persons and/or risk to property from part or whole Lombardy poplar tree failure is of concern due to the frequent use of St Omer Park, Lake Esplanade and adjoining buildings and structures.’’ Annual inspections of remaining trees and a replacement planting programme using more robust, longer-lived species were also recommended.
Trees condemned: An arborist’s report recommends staged removal of the poplars in St Omer Park.