24 March update on tree removal in Warburton


Yarra Ranges Council's plans to remove a large decaying tree at the Warburton Recreation Reserve have been hampered following interference from a protestor yesterday.

While Council appreciates the significance of this tree for the local community, we also take the safety of our community seriously, and it is disappointing that our efforts to remove the tree to avoid a potential tragedy have been stalled.

A recent arborist report has found the tree to have very poor structure and to be dangerous due to a split in its lower trunk. Around 80 per cent of the tree comprises decayed wood caused by a wood-rotting fungus.

There has been significant deterioration in the tree's condition since the last report in 2016, with little structural wood remaining in the tree and, since 2016, Council has made numerous preventative efforts to extend and preserve the life span of this tree.

That work has included regular arborist reports, dynamic cabling, bracing and pruning. Despite Council's best efforts to preserve the tree, reports using a Sonic Tomograph - an instrument used for measuring decay and the structural integrity of trees - have also shown consistent and worsening degradation in the tree wood since 2016.

Two cables tied in the tree's upper canopy are currently providing the main structural support for the tree.

While we have looked at several options to retain the tree, the safety risks of it remaining are too high. The tree's close proximity to a main road, walking path and bus stop commonly used by school children poses an unacceptable risk to visitors and residents.

Council will continue working with Victoria Police to make the site safe so that tree works can occur. Community members are urged to stay well away from the fenced off area around the tree until further notice.

In recognition of the tree's significance within the Warburton community, steps will be taken to protect the wood that comes from the tree as much as possible during removal, with the hope this wood can be made available to the community for use in art, furniture and other creative projects. Replanting in the area will also be undertaken.

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