ARBORISTS were swinging from the trees in Camperdown’s elm avenue this week as part of ongoing programmed maintenance works.
Corangamite Shire planning and environment officer Lyall Bond said the works, valued at $50,000, were carried out in the last two blocks to the east and the last block to the west of Manifold Street.
“The works are stage two of the pruning program and follow on from stage one works which were carried out in the central part of the avenue last year,” he said.
“The works include dead weight removal, weight reduction and, where required, lifting under the canopies in traffic areas.”
Melbourne based arborists ‘The Tree Company’ carried out the pruning which attracted plenty of onlookers.
The team of arborists was highly visible, using rope-pulley systems to access the elm canopies as well as a cherry-picker.
Mr Bond said each employee was a qualified arborist and knew which branches to prune and which to leave.
“The arborists will also be looking for any evidence of the presence of elm leaf beetle,” he said.
“The beetle was found for the first time in elm trees right across the shire last year, so it is something we need to monitor closely.
“So far this year, there appears to be very little sign of them.
“We think the milder weather has helped to keep them at bay, but there is still potential for the worst to come.”
Mr Bond said the shire was in the process of developing an Elm Leaf Beetle Management plan that would be specifically designed for the Corangamite Shire.
“It’s the second year the elm leaf beetle has been found here, so we will use the knowledge we gained last year, as well as this year, to develop a suitable plan,” he said.
“Cobden was the worst affected by the beetle last year. The four worst affected trees were located near the Cobden library and along Tarrant Street so we plan to treat them this year.
“The beetle was found in elms widely across Camperdown and Derrinallum, and even in the one elm tree that is in Timboon, but very little damage was caused in those, so we’re not looking to treat them at this stage.”
Treatment can be delivered via stem or soil injection.
The shire aims to have an Elm Beetle Management Plan ready to present to the Camperdown Friends of the Elms group and the wider community by the end of this month.
Mr Bond advised residents that the golden elm was the most susceptible species of elm to the elm leaf beetle. Camperdown’s avenue is made up of English elms.