Patrick McIntosh

Patrick McIntosh

Heritage tree in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter assessed for safety

NANAIMO - Old City Quarter tree assessed by City of Nanaimo staff for public safety.

An assessment ordered by the city could grant a heritage tree in the Old City Quarter a stay of execution.

The catalpa tree, located on Wesley Street, is estimated to be about 100 years old and included on the city’s list of heritage trees, has extensive rot, but early indications from a recent inspection by Julian Dunster, an Island tree expert from Victoria, to determine if the tree should be cut down indicates the tree might be saved.

Dunster used sonic tomography, which uses sound waves similar to sonar, and resistograph drilling, which measures wood resistance to a drill bit, to develop a profile of the tree’s interior. It showed extensive decay and structural issues throughout the trunk and upper branches, but the decay is spreading slowly and, given the light weight of catalpa tree wood and its sheltered location on the narrow street, it appears the tree can safely stay where it is for now, pending the outcome of a full report from Dunster.

“Catalpa trees are native to the U.S. southeast,” said Patrick McIntosh, city urban forestry coordinator. “With careful trimming we can remove some of the weight from the trunk and upper branches.”

The city should receive the full findings of the report within the next several days.