A town that wants to conserve its fig

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A friend sent me a link to the article below, ‘Save our Fig’.

At Eden Primary School on the south coast of NSW is a mature Moreton Bay fig that has been looking a bit unwell.

The school and the community have looked into ways to save it.The link to the article is http://www.edenmagnet.com.au/news/local/news/general/save-our-fig/1675263.aspx?src=email

Save our fig

SARAH CHENHALL 12 Nov, 2009 08:50 AM By Sarah Chenhall

At a time of year when almost every garden is bursting with life and colour, the old Morton Bay fig tree in the school grounds in Imlay Street is looking distinctly stressed and out of sorts.

The canopy is no longer as lush, and many leaves have covered themselves in sap to ward off sucking pests.

Though new growth is showing in places and the fruit is ripening on the branches, the sparse look of the 103-year-old tree has drawn concern from some residents, including suggestions that it may have been poisoned.

Eden Primary School principal John Davidson, the tree’s caretaker, says that is unlikely but he has sought advice from Eden Garden Centre and other experts on its care. An arboriculturist will examine the tree next month.

Mr Davidson’s suspicions that the long drought could be to blame for the fig’s stressed state were supported by horticulturists David Jones of Kalaru, who has examined larger Morton Bay Figs in Sydney, and Jill Archer of Eden Garden Centre.

“We suspect dryness has a lot to do with the condition of the tree,” Mr Jones said.

“It’s definitely stressed but it’s not on the way out, these things are tough.”

If the tree’s condition worsens, it could drop its leaves and unripened fruit.

Mr Davidson, who has been collecting rainwater readings for the past six years, said 2009 has been the driest year in four years with the last ‘wet year’ occurring in 2003.

The tree (Ficus macrophylla) was originally planted in Imlay Street in 1906 along with four others to mark the Imlay Shire Council’s first meeting.

It was later moved to the school where it could grow uninterrupted.

Mr Davidson said he would seek to develop a ‘health plan’ with the help of Bega Valley Shire Council to try to bring the tree back to full vigour.

This article was from the Fairfax paper ‘The Magnet’.

I love links to related stories: knowing how other communities and councils deal with similar issues is important.

If you see anything you think helps feel free to email me. Councils can really learn from each other and the more examples the community have of similar trees that were saved from insurance clerks councils, the better. (Actually, when council say their issues are with insurance, they’re self-insured, so explain that one to me – or not: I can’t imagine having a discussion about insurance that’s comprehensible.)

This article shows how much communities value mature trees. Presumably our Lord Mayor and General Manager would say that as the tree may fall on someone and they may be sued it should be removed.

Guess what they could replace it with – a tuckeroo!

(I’ll have to stop picking on tuckeroos – they are seriously nice trees – but they’re not Hill’s figs.The pics below are all tuckeroos from Newcastle streets, Union and Tyrrell. I have to face it – my set against tuckeroos is that they are the trees that have been put in the place of the figs removed from Tyrrell Street to make way for the substation because half of them were deemed to be unsafe.)      Home

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