AN historic elm tree in the centre of Hill End has been earmarked for removal after a branch came down in last Wednesday’s wild storms across the region.
The elm behind the village’s war memorial at the end of Beyers Avenue is more than 100 years old and a landmark in the village.
A Bathurst Regional Council arborist was sent to assess the condition of the tree following the storm and found it was a risk to the war memorial and general public.
But lifelong Hill End resident Richard Burns remains hopeful the tree can be saved, saying it is a popular rest area for picnickers and travellers.
“I’m born and bred here so I’ve probably walked past that tree 1000 times, it’s a part of Hill End” he said.
“They say they will replace it with a new one but it takes a long time to grow to that size.”
Mr Burns said the branch that came down in the storm was “no bigger than your wrist” and he feared that if the war memorial tree was deemed a hazard, then many more trees of a similar age in the village might also be doomed.
Council’s engineering services director Darren Sturgiss confirmed the arborist’s findings, saying there were “significant hollows and decay within the main structural trunk of the canopy”.
“It was also identified that the majority of the tree’s limbs that make up its canopy are derived of epicormic growth, which has established as a result of past inappropriate pruning practices,” Mr Sturgiss said.
“In essence, these branches have developed very weak joins to the main trunk, creating a high potential failure point in addition to being attached to diseased support wood.”
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Mr Sturgiss said council had conducted a tree audit of Hill End’s historic elms “some years ago” that had found the war memorial tree to be in a poor condition.
”Other trees within Hill End were also assessed at the time as being extremely hazardous and have since been removed due to safety issues,” he said.
“Many remaining trees within Beyers Avenue and Hill End Road have been assessed as being in various levels of decline, which is expected due to their age and ongoing issues with disease and insect attack.
“Council will continue to monitor these trees and will attend to any concerns in respect to their health and condition, as required.”