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Today is the last day of Arbor Month and Glenwood residents in Durban are saddened that a large indigenous tree faces the chop.
The indigenous uSolu or Albizia adianthifolia, estimated to be more than 50 years old and 25m high, is growing on the border of a property in Haraldene Road and will be chopped down and poisoned, says the property owner, Mario Desfontienes.
“This 25m flat crown tree has graced our neighbourhood for 50 years,” said a neighbour, Graham Muller.
Sarah and Gustav Preller, also neighbours, said: “The tree is absolutely beautiful and we would really hate to see it go.”
Desfontienes and his wife, Michelle, said they chose the house because of the tree and admitted their children were “very upset” by the impending destruction of the tree.
However, Desfontienes explained that after two engineer reports it was clear the tree would have to go.
Building plans and the fact that the engineers had advised that it must go had compounded the Desfontieneses’ concerns that the tree was a “personal danger and threat”.
Desfontienes feared “the tree would fall over” as it was growing at an angle and that the roots could cause the road to collapse one day. He is paying R14 000 to have the tree destroyed and poisoned.
Although most of the tree has been destroyed, it awaits the final chop today.
Lindelani Zuke, Projects Assistant of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, who identified the indigenous tree, confirmed there was nothing the Glenwood residents could do as the tree was growing on the owner’s property so he could legally cut it down.
Although this Albizia species is not threatened, overexploitation and ring barking, which is is the complete removal of a strip of bark from around the entire circumference of the trunk of a tree, are becoming more common.
During Arbor Month, two or three trees are placed under protection. These trees are selected from commonly found species and rare species.