Prun­ing riles cou­ple

Stirling Times - - News -

AN Innaloo cou­ple is up­set the City of Stir­ling pruned their olive tree just a cou­ple of weeks be­fore their planned har­vest.

Maria and Raf­faele Pa­palia planted the tree on the verge out­side their home 20 years ago and press the olives each year to make oil.

They were hor­ri­fied to find re­cently that tree branches bear­ing olives had been re­moved with­out warn­ing.

“We’ve lost our olives to press for oil. For us it’s like do­ing away with good fruit,” Mrs Pa­palia said.

She was un­sure why the City had pruned the tree as it had not done so pre­vi­ously and her hus­band main­tains it.

Mrs Pa­palia said they orig­i­nally planted the tree “as a fun thing” and others fol­lowed suit, in­clud­ing the de­vel­oper of the neigh­bour­ing aged care fa­cil­ity and even the City, which planted 14 olive trees as part of a re­cent project be­cause it was the pre­dom­i­nant species on the street.

They had ap­proached their neigh­bours to har­vest their tree too as about 5kg of olives were needed to pro­duce one litre of oil.

“There prob­a­bly won’t be enough to make a de­cent crush­ing,” she said.

City in­fra­struc­ture di­rec­tor Michael Lit­tle­ton said they had since con­tacted the cou­ple and agreed not to prune the trees when fruit­ing.

“This will al­low the Pa­palias to con­tinue to har­vest the fruit into the fu­ture,” he said.

“The City is happy for res­i­dents to pick olive tree fruit from the City’s olive street trees for per­sonal con­sump­tion as long as it is done safely, away from busy roads and the trees are not dam­aged.”

Mr Lit­tle­ton said the City had a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure street trees were ad­e­quately main­tained and worked to a prun­ing sched­ule.

“This in­cludes trees that bear fruit, as not all res­i­dents har­vest them and low-hanging or cast-off fruit can im­pact street sight­lines and pedes­trian/wheel­chair ac­cess,” he said.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey

Raf­faele Pa­palia in­spect­ing the olives on his tree.

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