Time and tide wait for no man. The same applies to anything in the living kingdom, including plants. Trees can become icons on a landscape and often appear timeless. But even the most iconic, and seemingly ageless trees won’t live forever. Just like us, trees age and die.
Seeing a tree come to the end of its lifecycle can be rather emotional. Even more so for our Centennial Parklands Arborists whose day-to-day job it is to maintain the 16,000 trees across our three parks: Centennial Park, Moore Park and Queens Park. But despite their efforts, even they can’t cheat death.
We receive many questions about trees that are felled or removed despite ‘appearing healthy’ on the outside. But what many people do not know is that trees, like humans, are susceptible to a large and diverse range of health issues and structural defects. This can be problematic to manage in a Parkland setting where we encourage people to interact with and amongst the tree population.
As trees decline and reach the end of their life, the risk of branch failure or a tree becoming structurally unsound increases and needs to be closely monitored and managed. Eventually a tree may need to be removed once other tree management strategies become insufficient for public safety or sustaining the health of a tree.
"Removing a tree, as emotional and heartbreaking as it may be, is a very necessary part of managing trees in urban environments," says Peter Butler, Senior Horticulturist at Centennial Parklands. "We get many people using the Park and enjoying our trees so it’s really important for us to assess and monitor our tree collection. Not just their health but their structure as well, and manage the tree’s life as it goes from a young tree into maturity and then into a senescing over-mature tree."