Dead wood goes as Campus trees are spruced up

28 May 2002
Going topless: The gum trees flanking Cecil Road have been "topped" to a safe height, part of the University's plan to maintain and assess the health and well-being of all the trees on campus.

NOTICED anyone on Campus prodding trees, measuring trunk girths or otherwise engaged in general arboricultural activity?

Have no fear, the famous sylvan aspect of our grounds is not under threat, even if you do see tree fellers at work. They're merely taking care of dead wood or those diseased trees that pose a threat to their healthier neighbours on Campus.

UCT's beautiful campus is certainly one of its marketable features, boasting an array of tree types and sizes, from lofty stone pines to sheltering pin oaks. But it is hard work making sure these are both safe and sound, environmentally speaking.

UCT's senior horticulturist, Noelene le Cordier, has been hard at work with Dag Willems of Tree Surgery and Forestry from Stellenbosch who were commissioned to do some general arboricultural work; corrective pruning, reshaping and thinning dense crowns where necessary.

Some trees have been removed, such as the very tall stone pines, perched precariously on the steep slopes behind La Grotta, now Alumni House. Others, such as the gums trees flanking Cecil Road opposite the Irma Stern Museum, have been "topped" to safe heights.

On the historic Welgelegen grounds, several trees have been marked for removal. These are either dead, dying or stunting the growth of their neighbours. In this case, UCT's Planning Department will put in an application to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (previously the National Monuments Council), asking permission to remove these trees.

"It's all part of the general maintenance of Campus and part of sustainable development," said Duke Metcalf, manager of UCT's estates.

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