Oak pruning in downtown Duncan park necessary

Necessary pruning of one of the red oak trees in Duncan’s Charles Hoey Park will be conducted in a way that will not effect the 39 Days of July summer festival.

The city recently received a report on the health and risk assessment of the four mature red oak trees in the park, which are believed to date to around 1912, when the Duncan Train Station was constructed. The report includes recommendations for mitigating risks and improving the health of the trees.

The northernmost of the four trees has the most concerns, including an area of large dead branches directly above the 39 Days of July stage and seating area.

City staff will begin pruning the tree this Friday at 6 a.m., both to mitigate the risk of branch failure and to avoid interfering with the festival, which has music beginning around 11 a.m. The crown of the tree will be cleaned of any dead, diseased or weak limbs, and the remainder of the tree will be pruned to reduce the crown by about 25 per cent, with a focus on reducing end weight on the limbs.

The city will continue monitoring and pruning the tree until it is no longer viable and could be removed, a strategy that will allow the city to plant new trees in the park that can be maintained throughout their lives. "There are also recommendations for the other three trees, but the state of this particular tree, coupled with the Summer Festival in the Park, it is not advisable to wait," city chief administrative officer Peter de Verteuil said. "The City will proceed with the remainder of the recommendations when appropriate."