Fig fob

A HILTON arboriculturist says he suggested a simple, cost-effective treatment 10 years ago that could have saved Fremantle’s iconic Kings Square fig trees, but was ignored.

Jonathan Epps was a founding member of the Institute of Australian Consulting Arboriculturists and has been providing advice to state and local government departments since starting his business in 2000.

Mr Epps contacted the Herald this week following Fremantle council’s announcement that it was considering the fate of another two ailing Moreton Bay figs after felling two in May.

He says he told Freo parks staff that stem nutrient implants would be a cheap way to reverse the figs’ decline which was already apparent in 2007, and was told they would look into it.

“I never heard a sausage back,” he said this week.

Mr Epps says it’s difficult to fertilise trees like the figs, particularly when much of their root structure is under paving, and the US-based implants are an excellent way of increasing their leaf cover.

He says at the same time he provided the advice to Fremantle, he used the implants to treat nine mature jarrah trees in the Yanchep National Park.

“Last week I visited the park on another arboricultural matter,” he said.

“The nine mature jarrah are continuing to flourish and their crown health has stabilised,” he says.

But Mr Epps says he believes Freo has left it too late now.

“Due to their apparent neglect over the years, it is now my professional opinion that the declining mature fig trees in Kings Square, Fremantle, cannot now be treated effectively.

“They are in terminal decline.”

Mr Epps says thankfully other fig trees in the square appear to be sound and healthy.

by STEVE GRANT

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