Damaged pines will get the chop

A MATURE pine tree marking Byron Bay's northern entrance will have to be cut down and replaced and another 11 are on the critical list after being badly damaged by a hail storm in November last year.

The pine tree on Shirley St needs to be cut down because it has got no leaves, is leaning to one side and has very low energy reserves, Michael Hallinan from Arbor Ecological said.

"The tree doesn't have any energy left to repair itself," he said.

A program to resurrect the damaged trees has been underway since Mr Hallinan was called in by the Byron Bay Council to do a health assessment of the strip of pines in August.

Another 11 pine trees in Shirley St have been assessed as "nearly dead or in very poor health" out of a total of 45 trees, Mr Hallinan said.

Another 18 were in poor to fair health he said.

How well the trees respond to the treatment program over the 'growing season' will determine how many of them will ultimately survive.

"The next couple of months are critical to their health, if they don't recover in spring, they never will," he said. "They'll definitely need to be removed and replaced."

The damage caused to the pine trees from the hail storm that ripped through Byron in November 2013, is clearly visible to the eye, particularly on the south-eastern aspect he said.

"The storm stripped the tress of their leaves as well as destroying the vascular system in branches," he said.

Since then a lack of rain has compounded the trees' problems.

The pine needles that dropped into the soil after the storm have also introduced oil into the soil that actually repels any water that does arrive, he said. Removing and replacing the trees will be no easy task considering their size.

The most damaged tree is also right outside a hotel he said.



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