Historic Norfolk Pines on Scotts Head Reserve in decline

Moira Ryan, member of Dune Care and the Scotts Head Community Group.


THE historic Norfolk Island Pines that crest the ridge above Little Beach are in decline.

Although not Indigenous to Australia the stand of trees is estimated to be 50 – 80 years old.

Originally planted as a memorial to locals who gave their lives in WW2 the trees are emotionally connected to the Scotts Head community.

The pines are mentioned in Buz Brazel’s book ‘Scotts Head As Good As it Gets – The History of Scotts Head Village’.

Two of the pines are in a critical condition with one being earmarked for removal and the other to be severely pruned back as reported by arborists, ArborSite.

As a follow up on our original story about the pines, News Of The Area took a walk with Moira Ryan, a member of Dune Care and Scotts Head Community Group, up to the headland to look at the two pines in question and the surrounding coastal area.

Poison has been suggested within the community as a reason for the decline of the pines, however Mark Martin, Reflections Operational Manager, stated in an email that soil samples from the site came back negative to poison.

Moira said that many poisons are residual and any testing would rely on the timeframe between the event and when the testing took place.

The trees have been roped off from the public.

Pines on each side of the damaged trees are still in good health, some with lower branch damage that locals say could be attributed to pedestrian traffic.

“Our volunteers replanted the head land area with natural vegetation and mulched both pines, but they’ve all since died, the whole Reserve is struggling,” said Moira.

The Trustee Volunteers grow all their own seed stock allowing this area to be planted with naturally sustainable plants suitable for the Reserve.

Moira said, “Sea spray could be responsible for the demise of banksias closer to the beach, (but) the headland is a different matter.”

As the natural vegetation dies it leaves the area open for infestation from non-Indigenous plants and weeds.

Moira said the current weed problem will take the resources of volunteers to their limit.

New Of The Area attempted to contact Mark Martin at Reflections for an update on the future removal and pruning of the pines in question, but at the time of publication no comment was returned.




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