Once notable tree felled

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 04/12/2013

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A large magnolia that once graced a Fitzherbert Ave property near Ferguson St in Palmerston North has been chopped down after several years of cuts and deteriorating health.

Once a notable tree listed in Palmerston North City Council's District Plan, its protection has lapsed after arborists agreed it was no longer a remarkable or healthy specimen.

Palmerston North arborist and volunteer registrar for the New Zealand Notable Trees Trust Darryl Judd said it was always a shame to lose a tree, but there were far better examples of magnolia grandiflora in the city.

He has reviewed its standing several times over nearly a decade.

"It was not an excellent specimen. It was brutalised 40 years ago, when the top was whacked off. Its leaves were yellowing and smaller than they should be - it has been under a lot of stress."

The city council's consultant arborist, John Wakeling, peer-reviewed his assessment, and agreed.

The tree's roots had struggled under the pressure of bricks once laid around it, and the area had more recently been used for car parking which compacted the ground further.

Mr Judd said it was realistic to let the tree go, but he wished the council would do more to encourage property owners and developers to plant new trees whenever an old one was lost.

The presence of the protected magnolia had limited prospects for development of the property, because it took up most of the street front.

Property owner Gerald Haddon said he had been trying to get rid of the tree for a long time. He said the property was on the market, and would be much easier to sell and to develop without the tree in the way.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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