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Trees Focus Of Arbor Day


Every year Arbor Day is held to draw attention to the importance of trees in our society.

Trees are needed worldwide to counteract global warming and the thinning of the ozone layer. They are needed in cities to reduce glare and reflection, and to cut down noise and air pollution. They also form part of the character of cities, and especially Christchurch - the Garden City. Christchurch City Council has a list of heritage and notable trees on public and private grounds. Many are protected and are in the Botanic Gardens, but many others are on private land and are not protected. Noteworthy trees around the city that will be worth a look on Arbor Day include: * A holly hedge at the Christchurch Club, Worcester Street, planted about 1860, is probably the oldest surviving hedge in the city. The City Council's aboriculturist Walter Fielding-Cotterell says the hedge is in good condition considering its age. Sycamores in the club's grounds are protected notable trees. * At 220 Fitzgerald Avenue is probably the city's largest ribbonwood. It is possibly pre-European and is 16m high, 15m wide, with a trunk diameter of 1m. Botanist Dr Brian Molloy says the tree (Plagianthus regius) is really colossal. "Because it was in the open it has been able to flex its muscles," he says. It is at least 150 years old and could have been growing on the bank of the Avon River when the pioneer Britten family arrived. * The Arts Centre has several worthy trees and included among these are two trees in the South Quad. There is the old, but fine gingko alongside a cooper beech; both planted in the early 20th century. The two dislike winds but they have thrived in the South Quad and provide wonderful shade in summer, colour in spring and autumn, and disrobe in winter to admit sunlight. Near the centre's Clocktower is a fine example of a totara. * Risingholme, Cholmondeley Avenue, Opawa, is an historic homestead set in a grounds, much like an English-style park. Many mature trees grace the grounds, including `a Spanish chestnut (Castanea Sativa) at the back of the house. * A lime at the Carlton Mill Road-Rhodes Street corner is a landmark 28-high tree with heart-shaped leaves. It has a trunk diameter of 1.5m. The tree, planted in 1901 to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, is on land gifted to the city in 1900. * Five English oaks (Quercus robur) and a Dutch elm (Ulmus x hollandica), along with other trees, can be seen in Greers Road. Two of the oaks are said to be the best in Canterbury. The Bishop family (Bishopdale was named after the family) planted them with acorns from the Forest of Dean, in the west of England. Shipbuilders used to get spas for the British Navy from the forest. * An evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) at St Faith's Church, Hawke Street, New Brighton, was planted in May 1937 to mark the accession to the throne of King George Sixth. Ron Cutler, now in retirement, worked for the Christchurch City Council's Parks Unit for 44 years, raised the tree from a seedling. He is 87 and has been attending St Faith's since 1919. * McHaffies Reserve, off Shortland Street, Aranui, has been described as a hidden treasure. In it are 17 manna gum trees (Eucalyptus viminalis) which command attention. * At 3 Clifton Bay is a collection of interesting trees more than 80 years old. There is the largest pohutakawa (Metrosideros excelsa) in the city at 19m high, Canary Island palms (Phoenix canariensis), a Norfolk Island palm (Araucaria heterophylla), three rubber trees (Ficus elastica - the only large ones in the city), a large Holm oak (Quercus ilex), a puriri (Vitex lucens), the largest in the city. * More than 140 protected and notable trees at Sunnyside Hospital (now called Healthlink South Hillmorton) are mostly exotic including cedars, lawson cypress, monkey-puzzles, oak, ash, and lime. Of these more than 100 are on land to be sold but it is hoped all will be sensitively incorporated in the redevelopment. Many of the trees were planted in the 1920s by psychiatrists who took botany as part of their courses. The land for sale includes Jamiesons Bush (about two hectares named after the hospital nurse who planted them) one of the larger groups of native trees in the city and now a protected area.

Further information: Kerry Everingham: City Council Environment Promotion Officer: 371 1779.

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