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LETTER: Tree debate branches out

The people discussing street trees are talking at cross purposes: Ginkgos are good precisely because nothing eats it. Specimens are long-lived and narrow cultivars are available that are suitable for narrow streets.

Other people like a living landscape with caterpillars, bees and birds and I have some sympathy, not having to run a municipality.

The bee in my bonnet is that the City of Victoria passed a resolution years ago to plant no more Japanese cherry trees, the reason being that, in contrast to the ginkgo, almost everything eats them. I love to see the streetscapes in blossom but these are the last of their kind since trunk rot gets them after about 50-75 years, which is regarded as short-lived and most are about that age.

So my request is for Oak Bay to plant a few Japanese cherry trees – we are a retro-municipality and the appearance is wonderful despite their so-called short life. Of course, citizens can help by planting specimens in their own gardens.

I might mention that the Abkhazi Garden, which is just over the Victoria boundary, has a particularly rare Japanese cherry called ‘Tai Haku’ (translates: big white flowers) which the head gardener is propagating because the originals are becoming fragile.

The trees cut so far on Oak Bay Avenue were red maple, not Norway. I coordinated a street tree survey in Halifax about 40 years ago and over 90 per cent were Norway, a dreadful tree but chosen because they grow rapidly to get over vandalism size.

Joe Harvey

Oak Bay