Cutting report

IF trees could talk, imagine what the two small-leaved fig trees at Shark Creek would say about their treatment over the past few years.

The Ficus obliqua trees, each aged around 125 years, sit on the edge of the Pacific Highway at Shark Creek right where the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has proposed it would like to widen the road.

Last year the RTA commissioned CHOICE, a landscape and horticultural consultant, to prepare an arborist's report on the two trees to establish their health.

The report revealed how both trees had been pruned inappropriately over the years, affecting their health and growth.

The report listed visual signs of small and large pruning cuts and wounds on both trees that did not meet the Australian standards, with photos to back up the claims.

Photographic evidence included images of inappropriate stub cuts, flush cuts, chainsaw wounds, crown lifting and recent mechanical damage to the buttress roots.

The report did state the pruning events may have been a remedy for perceived issues of hazards in human terms, but was a form of wounding as far as the trees were concerned.

The report concluded that one of the trees was in good health and should be kept, while the other had a number of structural faults and recommended its removal.

In a submission to the RTA, ecologist Dr Greg Clancy said the arborist's report was scathing of the treatment given to the trees by incorrect and harmful pruning and poor management of the area around the base of the trees.

Dr Clancy recommended the RTA consider an alternate upgrade route that allowed for the retention of the two figs.

“These trees constitute an endangered ecological community and provide essential habitat for threatened and protected species,” Dr Clancy said.

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