Kiwifruit crisis delays tests of Octagon trees

Test results that could confirm what is attacking Dunedin's ailing Octagon plane trees have been delayed by the investigation into the kiwifruit bacteria PSA.

However, council parks and reserves team leader Martin Thompson said yesterday he was encouraged to see the three Octagon trees thought to be the most affected were showing more signs of life.

Some of the trees were still showing signs of infection, but they were "definitely leafing out a lot better than they did last year".

"Last year, they hardly leafed up at all . . . this year they are not fully out yet, but they are certainly responding a lot better this season.

"They are still not 100%, but it's fairly early in the season."

It emerged in January an unknown type of fungal disease was believed to be attacking four of the plane trees, which had stood in the Octagon for 119 years.

Test results were inconclusive and the council began a $50,000 programme to rehabilitate the trees, which was continuing.

Fresh samples were taken last month, after three of the southernmost trees showed more signs of illness as others began to come into leaf.

It was not known yesterday when the results would be available.



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