Warner Street’s Rosewoods given second chance


Karlie Brady


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‘Save the Rosewoods’ founder Danielle Piat, whose father planted the trees almost 30 years ago. Image: Karlie Brady.
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A row of iconic Rosewood trees on Warner Street in Port Douglas, which were due to get the chop this week due to their deteriorating health, have been granted a last-minute reprieve.

Douglas Shire Council announced today that it would postpone the tree removal after a second independent arborist report recommended that further maintenance and monitoring may give the trees a chance of survival.

Last week Council revealed about half the trees along the strip were set for removal after an independent arborist report recommended their urgent removal stating they were a risk to public safety due to potential deadwood failure. The tree's health has rapidly declined in the last few months with an arborist report in March revealing they were likely poisoned.

In a statement today, council said a second independent arborist report assessed a sample of trees which found "good sap flow and no hydraulic failure."

“In line with the first arborist report, the trees are still considered to be in a state of stress and decline,” the statement said.

“The arborist has recommended any deadwood posing a public safety risk should be removed.

“In addition, the arborist has also recommended the cleaning of the crowns, the root zones be aerated and a broad-spectrum fertiliser applied.”

The news comes as a relief to ‘Save the Rosewoods’ founder Danielle Piat, whose father planted the trees almost 30 years ago. Ms Piat successfully ran the petition “Save the Rosewoods” in 2018 when the trees were also threatened then. 

“On the weekend I emailed Mayor Kerr and the Council CEO demanding that the work be put on hold until they get a second report because we feel as a community that the trees need to be respected and given a chance,” she said.

“I am glad that Council has kept an open mind and taken this step.”

Ms Piat said the cause had received huge community support on the ‘Save the Rosewoods’ Facebook page including from resident and tree specialist Steve Stonier.

“Steve has worked with tropical trees for 40 years and he feels the trees can make a full recovery,” she said.

“He checked out the trees and believes if they are pruned and maintained that most can recover.

“It has been a real community drive to save the trees.”

Council will start removing deadwood from the trees this week and continue monitoring the trees’ health to give the trees the best chance of survival, as well as ensure the avenue of trees remains safe for the public.

Samples taken from the affected trees and soil have been sent to a laboratory for analysis. A report is due in one to two weeks.

“As a community and council, we all need to work together,” Ms Piat said.

“We don’t know what happened to the trees yet, so until we get the results back, we will have to be patient.

“The trees could well not survive yet; we still don’t know what we are dealing with.

“Depending on what results come back, if it is proven that it has been poised then the police need to be involved.

“This is very personal for me as my dad planted the trees and they are a legacy that he is going to leave behind,” Ms Piat said.

Council is in direct contact with Warner St stakeholders and is inviting members of the public to register for updates by emailing [email protected]

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