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Published: 2013-12-11 00:00:00

Waipa District Council is taking action to save a popular kauri grove in Shakespeare Rd, Cambridge, following advice from Waikato Regional Council.

The work will include mulching to help protect exposed kauri roots from being literally “fried” by hot summer temperatures.

The action comes after a number of concerned residents contacted the regional council about ailing kauri at the Shakespeare Rd grove, concerned they might be suffering from kauri dieback disease.

Regional council biosecurity officer Jeanie McInnes - a member of the national multi-agency Kauri Dieback Programme – inspected the kauri, and was able to establish the ailing trees were in fact suffering from “accumulated environmental stresses”.

“Kauri tree feeding roots are very close to the ground’s surface. Given where the kauri were planted, there was not only a shortage of water for the trees in warmer months but the ground temperature would have increased significantly resulting in the kauri roots being, literally, fried.”

Ms McInnes and district council parks staff have subsequently come up with a plan to mulch the area to protect tree roots and to plant more kauri so as to help lower ground temperatures.

Waipa District Council’s parks manager Max Ward said the grove was originally planted by members of Cambridge’s Rotary Club, and the club will help pay for new trees.

“We would like to do all we can to maintain and enhance the remaining kauri trees.

“Shakespeare Rd walkway is very popular and just to leave the kauri grove as it is would detract from peoples’ enjoyment of the walk.

“Adding mulch and plantings of kauri will help with maintaining a more constant soil temperature. Additionally we will organise for a mobile water supply to keep the ground moist over the summer months.”

Mr Ward said that besides planting some more kauri the district council would also look at “companion planting” using native trees that grow alongside kauri in their natural surroundings. Replacement trees will go in next autumn.