Monday, July 10, 2017

Hurricane Season and the invasive Australian Pine: The risks and dangers.

The next City of Lake Worth Tree Board meeting is this Thursday at City Hall beginning at 5:30. These meetings are open to the public; use this link for more information.

  Aerial view circa mid- to late-1970s (to the southeast) of Lake Worth’s municipal golf course.
Are invasive trees such as the Australian Pine a concern of yours? Try to attend this Thursday’s Tree Board meeting to get more information.

The view above includes the roads North Palmway, North Lakeside and Golfview Drives. The foreground would be the area between 16th Ave. to 13th Ave. North. Notice the 90° turn south at 13th Ave North.

Interesting to note the proliferation of the invasive Australian pines along the western shore of the Lake Worth Lagoon 40–50 years ago. These pines are not indigenous and, unfortunately, grow very quickly in this climate and soil. When they get too tall they’re either topped-off, removed, or a strong storm will take care of the problem for the property owner — hopefully without damage to the home, cars, sending someone to the hospital — or worse.

From the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

Australian pine now occurs throughout South and Central Florida, the West Indies, Mexico, and elsewhere in tropical regions outside its native range.
     Because of its aggressive growth rate, never plant Australian pine trees. There are native trees that provide shade and do not harm the environment. Possession of Australian pine with the intent to sell or plant is illegal in Florida without a special permit.

In a hurricane or strong storm, when the Australian pine top shears off it’s likened to a “spear”. When too close to power/communication lines and roads (needed for emergency vehicles) you can understand the concern.

The needles that fall create a dead zone around the tree that is poisonous to birds and Gopher tortoises, to name just a few native species of animals and other plants affected. Two years ago a City of Lake Worth resident tried to stop an Australian pine from being removed (the City cited public safety concerns), and the issue then went before the City’s Tree Board:

The Tree Board defended the City and their position on the Australian Pine. They also made recommendations going forward dealing with invasive trees that pose a danger to the public and environment.

Have any recommendations been made to the City Commission to clarify this public safety issue for the community? Actually don’t have an answer to that question. But if you’re interested show up at the Tree Board meeting on Thursday and get more information.

This is Hurricane Season: Use this link to the City’s website for more information.

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