Days numbered for iconic oak trees

The plan is to replace all of the existing oak trees, on the Neville Street site, over the next 25 years.

A revegetation and maintenance plan for the Oaks on Neville retirement complex in Warkworth, submitted to Auckland Council last month, forecasts the removal of all the existing oaks on the site over the next 25 years.

The plan is a requirement of the resource consent issued in 2013.

An arborist’s report prepared earlier this year, found all the trees on the site were diseased and deteriorating.

Oaks on Neville project manager Dave Stott says the lifespan of that particular species of oak is usually 150 years, but reduces to between 80 and 100 years in the Auckland environment.

“These oaks all contracted a disease about a decade ago and are around 80 years old, so they are nearing the end of their expected lifespan,” Dave says.

If the revegetation plan is accepted by Council, up to three of the oaks could be removed within the next 12 months.

“We will leave each tree until the latest stage possible before removing it, but we need to make sure that there’s no danger of them falling down
and causing damage.”

The arborist’s report is broken down into five-yearly blocks and has helped identify at which stage each tree will need to be removed.

“Trees won’t be removed if they show signs of improvement.”

Dave says the gradual replacement of the existing trees will ensure the visual screening of the village is retained as new plantings may take up to 15 years to reach a similar height.

“The new oaks will also be a different species that will grow better in this climate,” he says.

The revegetation and maintenance plan, which was to have been submitted before work started, was supposed to include details on how the developer would improve the future health of the existing oaks, treat pathogens in the surrounding soil and control weeds in the area.

Dave says it wasn’t realistic to expect the plan to be submitted before work started because they needed to see what the impact of the build would be on the trees.

“We haven’t met the time requirement, but I think we’ve met the content requirements of the consent. I don’t believe the trees have been negatively affected by the delay in submitting the plan.”

He says they also wanted to make sure the plan fits appropriately with the revegetation and maintenance plan for stage two of the development, on the ex-Price Cutters site. This will be submitted within the next year.

Dave says ongoing maintenance work will be done when the new trees are planted.


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