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Christopher Wilcox – https://www.facebook.com/christopher.wilcox.585
I last wrote about Jack Shanahan Reserve in April 2014, just after the park reopened after an upgrade. See – http://bit.ly/1VbnyNK
We ended up in Jack Shanahan Reserve this afternoon while enjoying a random bicycle ride around the area. I am pleased to say that this park is looking great & was full of children & young adults. Being a skater’s park it is very popular.
Immediately apparent was the new trees. I counted 19 of them. Some might have been planted with the upgrade last year, but I cannot remember so many new trees & feel sure that I would have mentioned them in my post.
I wrote, “A number of good-sized Pin Oaks have been planted around the picnic kiosk & also at points along the path. These trees continue what appears to be a theme in this park. I was pleased to see that none of the mature trees on the hill have been removed. In 12-months when the grasses have grown & the trees are larger the differences will be more apparent.”
The new trees are Eucalypts & others, but not Pin oaks. They have been planted in the lawn area alongside the railway line. They already look good & very soon their canopy will block out the passing trains, plus provide shade & habitat for wildlife.
The native grasses have grown & filled out garden beds. It all looks lush & inviting – a park one would want to visit.
Unfortunately I saw young people throwing glass bottles at three Australian White Ibis who had come to inspect the barbeque. I am not a fan of signs, but I think Council could do well to install a sign here to tell the community that these birds are native & protected by law. It may help eliminate unnecessary cruelty to wildlife that have an equal right to be in the park as people do. A sign may also help young people educate others who do the wrong thing.
A couple of weeks ago I drove down Carrington Road Marrickville South & noticed that the row of around 13 heritage Canary Island palm trees had been pineapple-pruned. I was pretty sure this had been done to rid the Ibis from these trees.
I wrote to Marrickville Council & asked for reasons why they pineapple-pruned these heritage trees. Their response included –
- “Dead Frond Removal. On several occasions dead fronds had fallen on cars & the road, removing these was a safety priority.”
- Canopy Lifting because of a disease called Fusarium oxysporum. “Disease management is based solely on disease prevention. The Australian White Ibis is identified as one of the major transmitters of Fusarium within Date Palms, as such reducing their use of these palms by removing horizontal branches for them to land on is a key way to combat the spread of the disease. Councils Biodiversity officers where [sic] consulted with several months prior to the work being undertaken to address any concerns over White Ibis impacts. The trees where also monitored several weeks in advance of the pruning taking place to ensure the Ibis where [sic] not using them. White Ibis nesting season is between June to January – we delayed work, which we initially wanted to do in September due to several dangerous branch drops, to avoid disrupting the Ibis.”
I know for a fact that the Ibis live in these trees all year round & were already doing so when I moved to Marrickville in 1996. Every night you could watch the Ibis return to sleep in these trees.
I wrote back to Council & asked for any academic or similar publication or weblink that discusses Australian White Ibis transmitting Fusarium in Canary Island palms. Council’s response was to offer me a chat to talk, but did not provide any references.
Despite reading extensively on Fusarium, I found nothing that said birds, including Australian White Ibis, transmit it. In fact, every article said that the spread of Fusarium is through pruning, stump grinding & transplanting & soil water.
Cutting implements are supposed to be sterilized between working on each palm tree & experts even suggest using a new chainsaw, lopper, pruning shear, handsaw for each palm. “Since chain saws are nearly impossible to sterilize, hand saws or clippers should be the only tools used to cut off palm fronds.” http://bit.ly/1h7KJpb
“….. pruning should be restricted to removal of only dead or dying leaves. Severe pruning, such as “hurricane cuts” or “pineapple cuts,” weakens trees & increases the risk of pathogen transmission.”
“Pruning should be viewed as a risk factor for Fusarium wilt disease transmission & not as a benefit to the Canary Island date palm. While this is an extraordinary measure, it is inexpensive disease prevention management for extremely valuable palms. A mature Canary Island date palm that has died from Fusarium wilt is expensive to remove & expensive to replace. It is certainly more economical to prevent the disease than deal with the deadly consequences, especially if there are multiple Canary Island date palms in the landscape.” http://bit.ly/1cFJ5Kf
“Extreme pruning causes loss of important nutrients. When trees and palms have leaves that are beginning to die, certain nutrients (including potassium) are put into a soluble form & pulled out of the older foliage and usually sent to new growth. Extreme pruning done on a regular basis has been shown to be fatal to certain species of palm owing to nutrient deficiencies. Palm fronds should not be removed if they still have green on the leaflets or midrib. They are still manufacturing and supplying food to the palm.” http://bit.ly/1h7KJpb
Another problem with pineapple pruning is that the new fronds are soft & susceptible to wind damage, so more falling fronds. Old dead fronds hang on the palm for a very long time. Council could have chosen to prune these dead fronds long before they started becoming a safety issue.
I also contacted the Veteran Tree Group Australia. They said, “We are not aware of any studies or publications that link Ibis as a vector for the spread of Fusarium. Pineapple pruning or any severe pruning involving the removal of live foliage is not an option that we would recommend in management of mature or veteran Canary Island Date Palms; this can weaken the palms and exposes them to a greater risk of infection. Pruning of mature palms should ideally be limited to removal of only dead or fractured fronds for the purposes of risk mitigation in public areas.“ http://bit.ly/1k45g1s