Environment SA News

Ailing pine tree to be replaced

A historic pine tree on the grounds of Old Government House in Belair National Park is set to be replaced due to its declining health.

Ailing pine tree to be replaced

The 136-year-old Aleppo pine, planted in 1887 on the grounds of South Australia’s first official summer residence, has suffered poor health for several years.

An arborist report confirmed the heritage-listed tree was suffering considerable dieback on its tips, faded leaves and deadwood within its crown.

Friends of Old Government House has reported potential safety concerns, which include the possibility of limbs dropping on visitors and volunteers.

Its removal has been approved by the State Commission Assessment Panel and will happen in the coming weeks. The species’ lifespan is typically about 100 years.

National Parks and Wildlife Service Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Manager Tony Magor said many South Australians, including volunteer gardeners at Old Government House, would be sad that the tree had reached the end of its life.

“The Department for Environment and Water will provide an advanced specimen tree to take its place,” Mr Magor said.

“In the past few years, volunteers have become nervous about working near the tree due to its declining health.”

The tree is about 50m tall and spans close to a quarter of the garden surrounding Old Government House.

Aleppo pine is a fast-growing tree native to the Mediterranean basin.

In South Australia, the now-popular tree was first introduced by settlers for windbreaks and as a feature tree.

Once the historic tree is removed, gardeners will rejuvenate the ground where the tree once stood before planting its replacement.

Friends of Old Government House secretary Tina Gallasch said volunteers were fond of the tree but supported its removal.

“The pine has been a lovely feature of the property but it has become a real safety concern,” Ms Gallasch said.

“The tree’s canopy takes up a significant part of the property and the risk of large branches dropping concerns us, given the number people who walk in its vicinity.”