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Taupō District Council’s arborist team will work to reduce the risk to the public from trees damaged during last April’s storms where wind gusts broke and toppled many large trees in the District.
In addition to the trees at Owen Delany Park that were logged between April and July, there are some remaining trees that still pose a heightened risk to those in the community who use parks and open spaces. Many of the trees identified may not survive another storm and therefore were labeled for removal.
The trees to be removed are located at Reid’s Farm Recreation Reserve, around camping areas and along the main entrance drive; Spa Thermal Park, on the steep slopes above the Waikato River; Owen Delany Park, at the storm water detention area on the corner of Spa Road and on the Lakefront Reserve, on Lake Terrace between Huia Street and Mere Road.
The trees on the Lakefront Reserve pose a high risk of dropping major branches due to systemic decay that entered branches that were severely pruned over the years. Many of the trees have been regularly topped to preserve views and the topping has affected their long-term health. The trees which were subjected to over pruning and poor pruning experienced ongoing decay which has lead to the need for their removal.
District Manager Parks and Open Spaces, John Ridd, says that Council is concerned about the risk the decaying trees pose. “Some of the trees have significant decay and fungal growth in branches, with old wood turning spongy and decaying into the main structural stems. We have to deal with this risk as we don’t want one of these large branches falling on anyone.”
Ridd says: Council has a high level of concern the trees on public land as is clear in the Council Tree and Vegetation Policy. “We have a qualified arborist on the team. We put a lot of thought and consideration into whether to remove a tree.”
Several trees have had to be removed over the past few years as the decay has spread into the trunk and root system causing death. Council’s arborist team will remove the worst affected trees next week. New trees have been inter-planted along the reserve to maintain the scenic look. The area will be replanted over time with varieties that will not require topping.