MANY of Fremantle’s iconic Norfolk Island pines have been cordoned off after a mysterious change in how their cones develop caused large branches to fall off.
This week council-contracted arborists used a cherry picker to reach the dizzying heights of the Norfolk Island pines on Esplanade Reserve, then cut off cones to reduce weight in the canopy.
One of the arborists told the Herald the abnormal seed pod growth was causing overweight branches to tear away from the trunk and plummet to earth.
He said four cars had recently been “written off” after being hit by falling branches, and that the council feared it was only a matter of time before someone was injured.
The arborists remain perplexed as to why the heavy pods have started growing further away from the trees’ trunks in the last year, but said climate change and altered rain patterns may have played their part.
Highly trafficked areas such as the Esplanade footpath and playground will be rectified first, with workers scheduled to remain until at least next Wednesday (December 18).
Trees have also been cordoned off at other parks, including South Beach and Parmelia Park.
Last month on Rottnest Island, a young boy was injured when a large Moreton Bay fig branch fell on him while he was cycling at a school camp.
by JUSTIN STAHL