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February 13

Port Hills Fires – A lesson to us all with our Trees?

Port Hills Fires


The current Port Hills Fires could well be a result of nature telling us something about how we are caring for our trees and the environment. A hazardous event for everyone involved, particularly with people and their homes nearby.

Did you know that hot weather can be just as damaging and hazardous to trees as stormy weather? Combine this with a wind and not only do you have perfect weather for a bushfire, but you also have the right environment for an unexpected tree branch to fail and come down.

Many New Zealand native trees are used to the extremes of dry conditions and have their own methods for surviving. Unfortunately for many older or unstable trees, this results in dropping tree limbs.

For non-natives, they are not as adept at preserving themselves in hot weather and while they might not drop limbs like a native, several months later the tree can display serious problems.

Consider the following tips in keeping your trees healthy and preventing your property from succumbing to a hazardous environment:

Keep an eye out for dehydration 

Often problems for trees arise when they are without water for long periods of time. Young trees are particularly prone to dehydration with fruit and ornamental trees suffering the most.
While larger trees can withstand droughts and heatwaves better, if you want to keep your tree green and shady all year, keep your eye out for the signs of dehydration.

The signs of dehydration are most visible in the leaves of a tree. If your tree’s leaves are looking wilted, dull or limp, this is an obvious sign. Look out for leaves changing colour outside of their normal pattern, getting a scorched or burnt look around the edges and falling off in large quantities.

For native trees this can also include small branches dropping and finally larger limbs falling.

Mulch your garden

Mulching is a great strategy for protecting trees from the heat of the sun in summer. Mulching is not just protection against weeds and erosion, it can also help retain soil temperature and ensure a tree’s roots are not exposed to the sun.

A good quality mulch can also help preserve the moisture of the soil around the roots and stop the top soils drying out.

Pruning in summer

Another great way to avoid any summer heat problems is to get a professional tree company out to inspect the trees on your property. They can undertake any tree trimming or pruning services that might be required, before they become a problem.

This is especially important for natives, with a professional arborist able to also assess the safety and health of any trees on your property.

If you have any old trees or low hanging limbs, don’t wait until the next heat wave, contact Hollands Tree Services. We will take care of your garden, saving you costs in the future if a storm or fire does arise.


Written by Julieana Findlay, Boost Marketing NZ, Christchurch Business Directory

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