Main St trees to be felled by Christmas

en29Trees.Jpg Ground breaking... Gore District Council parks and reserves manager Keith McRobie points to the damage one of the dawn redwoods, which will be cut down before Christ mas, is causing on Gore’s Main St. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Four troublesome trees on Gore’s Main St have outgrown their site and will be given the chop.

The trees were discussed in a report presented to a Gore District Council meeting earlier this month.

The report was prepared by parks and reserves manager Keith McRobie.

In the report, Mr McRobie said three dawn redwoods were causing infrastructure damage and impacting on overhead wires.

The trees would continue to be compromised by pruning to clear wires and the damage to the kerbs would continue if the trees remained, he said.

“We have received feedback that there have been at least two accidents related to the raised kerbs/tree roots where people have tripped and fallen, causing injury,” Mr McRobie said.

Dawn redwoods can grow more than 25m high with a spread of up to about 15m in maturity. The existing trees had been planted in 1998 and were about a third of their size at maturity.

The average life expectancy of a New Zealand street tree is less than 30 years due to the added stress the environment places on them.

“Gore shouldn’t expect street trees, especially in the business area, to reach full-term maturity so a commencement of renewal after 20 years is not out of the ordinary,” he said.

He suggested a suitable tree to replace the redwoods would be a Malus tschonoskii(pillar crabapple).

“This tree has a columnar form and has generally not caused significant infrastructure issues elsewhere. ”

The fourth tree to be removed is a Japanese elm which was one of two at the intersection of Irk and Main Sts.

The tree was blocking a road sign and both were close to overhead wires.

The New Zealand Transport Agency requires the tree to be removed so motorists can see the signage.

The tree would not be replaced.

Speaking to the report Mr McRobie said although the redwoods were used by councils throughout New Zealand, given the height they grow to “in hindsight you would say it’s a slightly unusual tree choice for the main street.”

Councillor Doug Grant said the trees had been a discussion point among shop owners.

“We’ve had various retailers, one in particular … [who] was very vocal [and] brought it to the council to see if we could get rid of it.”

Councillor Glenys Dickson said while she did not support cutting down trees she could “see these are causing a problem”.

Mrs Dickson questioned whether native trees including kowhai had been considered as a replacement.

Mr McRobie said kowhai had not been considered but he did support their use as they attracted birds.

“They are quite a good street tree.”

After the meeting Mr McRobie said business owners on the street had been talked to about removing the trees.

“Most people are supportive.”

There was information on the council’s website and people could give feedback about the removal of the trees.

The trees would be cut off at ground level before Christmas.

“February-March we will look at removing the root mass and putting in new trees.”