Management plan in place to care for South West Rocks pines

Media release - 28 August 2018

Independent testing by the Royal Botanic Garden has confirmed that at least one Norfolk Island Pine tree in South West Rocks is affected by a fungal pathogen, commonly known as Norfolk Pine Canker.

To ensure the safety of the community and minimise the impact of the disease, Kempsey Shire Council has acted promptly to put in place a management plan to care for the pines.

Council’s Director of Operations and Planning, Robert Fish, said the 75 Norfolk Island Pines within South West Rocks are an iconic feature of the township, with some aged around 80 years old.

“All efforts will be made to provide the affected trees with the best possible chance to rejuvenate, however, it is necessary to remove one tree that shows advanced disease progression and may cause a potential safety issue if left in place,” Mr Fish said.

“Council staff will replace the tree on the corner of Livingstone Street and Prince of Wales Avenue with a 3-metre-tall pine. A further five trees will require significant pruning maintenance and additional trees will have deadwood removed.

“Council’s specialist arborist will closely monitor the retained trees and carry out ongoing maintenance works to improve growing conditions, including removing diseased matter, applying water-based, feed and slow release fertiliser and limiting compaction.”

Road closures in the South West Rocks CBD will be necessary from 6:30am Wednesday 29 August to enable arborists to carry out the tree removal, pruning and deadwooding using a crane and specialist equipment.

Norfolk Pine Canker is a fast-acting fungal pathogen that has been known to kill the host tree in as little as two years. There is no chemical control available.

Further information about the South West Rocks Norfolk Island Pines, the Management Plan and Norfolk Pine Canker is available on Council’s Caring for our Pines Factsheet - www.kempsey.nsw.gov.au/pines

Affected pine tree to be removed in South West RocksThe middle tree pictured will be removed this week due to it being affected by a fungal pathogen, commonly known as Norfolk Pine Canker