WARNING: The Norfolk Island Pine trees lining Shirley Street in Byron Bay look sick and need urgent attention a landscape architect has warned.
WARNING: The Norfolk Island Pine trees lining Shirley Street in Byron Bay look sick and need urgent attention a landscape architect has warned. Megan Kinninment

Iconic Byron Bay Norfolk pine trees at risk of disease

A BRISBANE landscape architect has warned Byron Bay is at risk of losing the iconic Norfolk pine trees lining Shirley Street if they are not treated for disease.

The trees form a recognised gateway to the town, but have become increasingly brown and defoliated as drought conditions worsen and may be dying, warns landscape architect Daniel Wright.

"We are usually welcomed to town by a lush gateway of pines, but I've noticed their decline over the past 12 months; they look like they have browned and defoliated," he said.

"An experienced arborist would need to be engaged to find out the underlying cause and work out what remediation could be undertaken.

"These trees are very old and have seen a lot of different environmental conditions, so I would be surprised if it was a climatic cause.

"However, drought tends to put trees under stress and underlying diseases such as fungal rot or soil-borne diseases may be highlighted."

Losing even one of the trees would break up the continuity of the impressive gateway effect the 40 or so trees have, Mr Wright said.

"These trees are an iconic landmark. Every effort should be made to save them."

Byron Shire Council's parks superintendent, Andy Erskine, said the hail storm last November had taken its toll on Byron Bay's Norfolk Island Pines in Apex Park and on Shirley Street.

He said staff had been monitoring the trees, and an independent arborist inspected the trees.

"The arborist found that the damage was consistent with hail damage with foliage being knocked off the trees and soft tissue damage on young branches," he said.

"However, there are new shoots starting to appear and staff have applied liquid fertiliser and a soil wetting agent to encourage further new growth."

Mr Erskine said one of the trees had borers and the top 5-10m of the tree will be removed.


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