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Chop confirmed for century-old oak tree

A 120-year-old oak tree will be cut down at Carterton’s Carrington Park due to structural integrity issues.

Carterton councillors unanimously agreed on the move at Wednesday’s Policy and Projects Committee meeting, with the tree’s removal also recommended by arborists who deemed the oak to be “compromised”.

The oak is one of 34 trees remaining from an Arbour Day planting event in 1904.

At the event, about 300 trees were planted at Carrington Park by school children, the mayor, councillors, and volunteers.

The remaining 34 trees have local historical value, but 25 have a history of canopy loss from overextended limbs.

A report to Carterton District Council [CDC] said this history suggests that “limb failure is likely in the foreseeable future”.

Deputy Mayor Dale Williams said the tree has served its purpose, and although cutting down a tree is “not ideal”, preserving its life much further is “unrealistic”.

The oak tree scheduled for removal stands between the skate park and bike track.

CDC parks and reserves manager Clint Thompson said the oak has a “high amenity value” but noted that exotic trees do not do well in New Zealand.

He noted that structural integrity issues are common in oaks across New Zealand due primarily to their rapid growth.

The Parks and Reserves team is working with an arborist to ensure a Tree Management Plan is in place for the remaining trees, which will include an inspection regime, specifications for the work, management recommendations with priorities as to what order the works are to be carried out, and protection guidance for any development works.

Thompson said that given the age of the trees, “we are going to start seeing significant issues appearing” and with Carrington Park set to be a destination playground after an upgrade, this raises the risk profile.

Although oak saplings are being grown, councillors suggested that any new trees planted be natives to reduce future risk. -NZLDR

LDR is local body
journalism co-funded
by RNZ and NZ On Air.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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