City crews began removing ornamental Japanese cherry trees in Beacon Hill Park on Thursday.
In all, 35 of the cherry trees planted in 1990 near Circle Drive will be removed, said Rob Hughes, the City of Victoria’s supervisor of arboriculture and natural areas.
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to get those trees established, they have continued to decline over many years,” Hughes said.
“The site was probably not the best site, condition-wise, for the trees as it’s really dry in the summer there and in some areas really wet in the winter.”
All of the trees being removed are either dead or in serious decline.
Replacement trees will be planted, but just where and what species is yet to be determined.
“We’d like to plant along that edge of the street and we’ll be working over the next several months to come up with a plan to look at replanting along there,” Hughes said.
Several other trees are also slated for removal this year, Hughes said. They will also be replaced.
“There’s a mixture of different species,” he said, including some native to the area. They include four Garry oak trees, five Scots pine, two mountain ash, two Lawson cypress, two paper birch, a small Douglas fir, a big leaf maple and a big leaf magnolia.
Some of the trees slated for removal are near the heron rookery in the park and probably won’t be removed until the fall, after the young have finished fledging.
“Our mandate, or goal is to preserve trees as long as possible and we do that through a lot of pruning work, reduction work. In some cases, if the tree is very valuable, we look at cabling or bracing a tree,” Hughes said.
“But in these cases, the trees are at the point that they have declined so much there is no opportunity to do that.”
Hughes said there are about 6,200 trees growing in Beacon Hill Park.
The city also looks at preserving tree trunks or stumps for wildlife purposes.