Old English oak tree causes a stir

2018-06-05 06:00
A local resident says this tree, in Kildare Road, could pose a threat if left unattended for too long.

A local resident says this tree, in Kildare Road, could pose a threat if left unattended for too long.

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They’e been there for over a century, but now residents worried about trees along Kildare Road in Newlands, as some are reportedly posing a risk to traffic and nearby properties.

A resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has raised this concern with local authorities.

His letter reads: “A huge oak tree at the drive way entrance to The School and parking area on the corner of Kildare Road and Main Street in Newlands has been hollowed out and is a potential danger to the public. It needs to be assessed by a competent horticulturalists. The tree is on the pavement on the west side on the Liesbeek River. To date nothing has been done about these items. Could you please advise when I might expect these matters to be attended to?”

The resident tells People’s Post the tree is inconveniencing a nearby business and something needs to be done, but says he cannot say much as the matter has officially been reported to the authorities.

The tree is on the sidewalk of Kildare Road just next to the bridge over the Liesbeek River and is reportedly seen as an important landmark in Newlands.

The tree in question is said to be 150 years old and has now become part of the heritage of the community of Newlands.

Local councillor, Ian Iversen, has reportedly promised to look into the matter­.

Clare Burgess, chairperson of TreeKeepers, says it should be noted that this tree is very important in terms of the cultural landscape and heritage of Newlands Village.

She explains that it is one of the few remaining large old English oaks in the area and needs to be treated with care.

“However, I am sure that with careful pruning and care and attention from a suitably qualified arborist or tree surgeon, this old oak can remain in place for many more years and grace our village streets with its delightful green canopy. This is despite the fact that roads have been tarred right up to its trunk, leaving no air space or soil around the base for breathing or water ingress.

“I note that a similar sized English oak was badly damaged in a storm last year in the property on the opposite side of the river and this indicates how vulnerable these old English oak trees are,” Burgess says.

She says there are many similar sized trees in Newlands, most of which are English oaks, and most of which require careful pruning and arboricultural work to keep them healthy and lower the risk of branches falling off.

Burgess advises residents who may have concerns about trees in their suburbs to contact the City’s Recreation and Parks Department to assess the situation, or contact TreeKeepers through their website www.­treekeeperscapetown.­org.za.

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