Declining pine felled

AN iconic Aleppo pine outside Beatty Park has been cut down on arboriculturalist’s advice.

Vincent staff noticed the 20-metre tree had been declining for a few years and brought in an arboriculturalist to assess it in November. A tap with a nylon hammer revealed it was hollow on the north side where termites had previously feasted on it.

“The specimen has likely to have reached the age where natural decline has started,” the inspection report says.

Resurfacing the centre’s carpark about 10 years ago is also likely to have sped up the decline.

Being sited on a busy road and with “sudden limb failure” or even the whole stem giving out becoming more likely, the recommendation was to pull it down.

“It will never regain its former natural vigour… it should be removed before the dying and dead branches fail, but more importantly before whole stem failure occurs,” the prognosis reads.

The council sent a crew in to cut it down this week and the cross-section of the tree confirmed the hammer’s prediction that it had been hollowed out in parts.

Aleppo pines have a lifespan of 80 to 90 years but are known to rapidly decline towards the end, and this one was classed “over-mature”.

Vincent mayor Emma Cole says the council’s hopeful a new tree can be planted at the same spot and they’re checking to see what would be suitable, and the whole leisure centre car park will be considered for additional new trees this upcoming planting season around April or May.

Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis) were planted here all through the late 1800s to mid 1900s, and archival photos show this was one of the mature trees retained when the site was cleared in 1961.

The famous “Lone Pine” at Gallipoli was often called an Aleppo pine but was actually a slightly different species called Pinus brutia.


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