New trees to be planted in historic Avenue of Honour

New trees will be planted in Queenscliff’s historic Avenue of Honour for the first time in more than half a century, following a Borough of Queenscliffe Council decision to plant new Monterey cypress trees.

The Avenue, first established in 1918 as a tribute to the town’s fallen war soldiers, has become a feature of the entrance to Queenscliff, and much of its appeal comes from its longevity. However, many of the trees are now in a state of poor health and are nearing the end of their natural lives.

Maintaining and replacing the stretch of more than 80 Monterey cypresses has been a long-term project for Council, and the most significant step yet in this process occurred at the November 2019 Ordinary Meeting, when a recommendation for planting in two of the Avenue’s existing gaps was endorsed.

“Starting new planting now allows us to gradually replace the Avenue with younger, healthier trees,” said Mayor Ross Ebbels. “We know that the Avenue is a much-loved feature of our community, and this project will ensure future generations can continue to experience this special place.”

This recommendation was proposed by the Avenue of Honour Reference Group, a small pool of local citizens tasked with much of the decision-making around the Avenue’s future. Following the advice of an independent arborist who provided the group with several options to replace the dying and diseased trees, the group opted to replace them with the same species: Monterey cypress.

“I want to thank the Avenue of Honour Reference Group for their work selecting a replacement species for this next phase in the life of the Avenue,” said Cr Ebbels.

Council’s next step is to conduct an initial round of plantings in two of the Avenue’s existing gaps to ensure they grow well next to mature trees and are resistant to disease. If these sample trees perform well over a trial period, Council will begin replacing the existing trees with the poorest health.

Because Monterey cypress trees only grow at a moderate pace, this process is expected to take several years from when Council first plants sample trees to when the first mature tree replacements are made. Council will continue to conduct health and risk assessments on existing trees to ensure the Avenue remains safe throughout this process.

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