Caring for the environment  |  14 Apr 2020

Two mature poplar trees that border the Avon River near Margaret Mahy Playground are going to be removed due to signs of decay.

The trees are part of a stand of poplars (Populus nigra) that were planted in the late 1920s along the Avon River, between Madras and Manchester streets.

“All the trees were comprehensively assessed, including a second independent assessment. Two trees were identified as having some decay at their base. Further testing showed that the decay is not yet extensive, however, it is expected to worsen,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Parks Andrew Rutledge.

“Failure of these trees when decay is present is hard to predict so we have decided to proactively remove the trees, given their proximity to a popular gathering area alongside the Margaret Mahy Playground,’’ Mr Rutledge says.

The two trees earmarked for removal will be replaced with young poplars to ensure the look of the area remains the same over time and respects the current landscape.

“We are also looking to replace about five cherry trees along Harper Avenue that have been identified as having health or structural problems,’’ Mr Rutledge says.

“The cherry trees along Harper Avenue are an iconic symbol of Christchurch in the spring but some of them are getting quite old. We’re putting in place a staged replacement plan for the older trees so that as they come to the end of their natural life, there are new ones to replace them. That way we can ensure our much-loved avenue of cherry trees is protected for future generations.’’

This year 15 new cherry trees will be planted along Harper Avenue to fill in open spaces and to replace the five trees being removed.