To address the risk to public safety, four mature Dutch Elm trees with deteriorating health and the semi-mature Golden Elm tree located in Queen Street in Warragul are to be removed and replaced.
The decision comes after Council engaged an independent arborist to assess the health and condition of the Elm trees along the south side of Queen Street. A detailed assessment undertaken in March 2021 showed significant deterioration of two of the mature Dutch Elm trees, with necessary works actioned in May 2021.
A further detailed assessment was recently completed. This revealed the structural integrity of the two trees has significantly declined over the last twelve months, while the two other mature Dutch Elms are showing similar signs of inevitable deterioration. Given the decline of the trees in a high use public area, they have been deemed an unacceptable risk to the community.
In the interest of public safety, and to preserve the visual continuity of the streetscape, the four deteriorating Elms and the semi-mature Golden Elm will be removed and replaced with hardier Chinese Elms. Chinese Elms have been selected as the replacement species as they are more tolerant of the harsh streetscape conditions, compared with the Golden Elm and Dutch Elm species. Chinese Elms are also not susceptible to Elm Leaf Beetle, unlike the Golden and Dutch Elm species, which require a chemical treatment every two to three years.
The tree removals will occur on Sunday 28 August 2022, with a temporary closure of Queen Street’s west-bound south lane for the duration of the works.
The five replacement Chinese Elms will be planted as part of Council’s 2022/23 street tree planting program.
Council understands considerable value is placed on these mature Elm trees by our community. Prior to the works, Council held an information session with several key stakeholders, including Warragul Residents and Ratepayers Association and Friends of Trees groups (Drouin and Warragul) to communicate the arborists assessment relating to the health and safety of the trees, the recommendation to remove them, and Council’s detailed plans to replace the trees.
Businesses along Queen St have also been informed through written communication delivered Monday 15 August.
Council has installed temporary signage on Queen Street to inform pedestrians and traffic of the road closure and the details surrounding the trees removal.