Century-old oak to be cut down

12:08 pm on 29 February 2024
The old oak tree in Carterton will either be pruned or removed. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

This oak tree at Carrington Park will be cut down due to structural integrity issues. Photo: LDR / Emily Ireland

A 122-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 of failure suggested that "limb failure is likely in the foreseeable future".

Deputy Mayor Dale Williams said the tree had served its purpose and although cutting down a tree was "not ideal", preserving its life much further was "unrealistic".

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

CDC parks and reserves manager Clint Thompson said the oak had a "high amenity value", but noted that exotic trees did not do well in New Zealand.

He noted structural integrity issues were common in oaks across New Zealand due 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 with 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 raised the risk profile.

Although oak saplings were being grown, councillors suggested any new trees planted could be natives to reduce future risk.

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