Mature eucalypts to get fellers' attention

About 25 gum trees at the Waitaki Community gardens are to be cut down to improve soil health, allow for more native planting and to allow the gardens to grow, community gardens operations manager Dan Hyzl says. Photo: Hamish MacLean
About 25 gum trees at the Waitaki Community gardens are to be cut down to improve soil health, allow for more native planting and to allow the gardens to grow, community gardens operations manager Dan Hyzl says. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Goodbye gum trees, it is time to go.

About 25 gum trees on the Waitaki Community Gardens' southwest boundary would soon be felled to improve soil health, allow for future native planting on site, and allow the community gardens to grow, community gardens operations manager Dan Hyzl said.

The work would be monitored by KiwiRail as the Waitaki Community Gardens expanded towards the rail line that passed between the gardens' Chelmer St site and Queen St.

''The expansion will enable [the community gardens] to further deliver community needs for ecological, gardening and sustainability education as well as an environment supporting social and mental health needs as it has for the past 10 years,'' Mr Hyzl said.

Gardens site and volunteer co-ordinator Ra McRostie earlier this year said the trees planted as a windbreak more than 50 years ago were problematic for the gardens' recently established food forest.

While removing the mature trees was ''a bit of a heart-wrench'', the gums sucked moisture from the soil and the leaves, in this environment, proved toxic.

Mr Hyzl said over the past decade, more than 80 fruit and nut trees and 10 native trees had been planted on site.

With the Department of Conservation, the gardens had planted 60 kowhai along the gardens' Chelmer St boundary to help to compensate. After the trees' removal the the southwest boundary would be planted with about 50 native trees.

The project had received grant funding and felled wood would be sold to raise funds.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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