The Geelong Botanic Gardens largest bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris) is being repaired after high winds caused it to be split down the middle.
Council says decay within the trunk, possibly caused by rot set in a smaller split, caused the bottle tree to become vulnerable to high winds and storm conditions.
City Works, Parks and Gardens chair, Councillor Anthony Aitken said this was a ‘clever and creative’ approach to preserving a significant feature of the gardens.
“I’m crossing my fingers that the repair is successful,” said Cr Aitken.
“I hope this specimen is saved as it’s a beautiful and unique feature piece that’s enjoyed by all visitors.”
He said the damaged bottle tree was the largest of the garden’s ten bottle trees standing tall at the front gates, welcoming visitors and providing shade for school groups and tours.
Geelong Botanic Gardens Co-Ordinator, Ashley Filipovski said Gardens staff were attempting to save the tree by pinning it together and treating its wounds.
“We have recovered bottle trees with splits in the past, but none as severe as this one,” Ms Filipovski said.
A boiler maker at the City’s Corio Depot has constructed the large metal pin clamp that will pull the split together. Arborists have trimmed the canopy to reduce stress on the split.
The steel pin clamp will be tightened weekly, encouraging the tree to mend itself, and the clamp will become a permanent fixture on of the tree to ensure that it is structurally sound. A fungicide has been applied to help with any associated fungal diseases.
Several of the native Queensland bottle trees were purchased as part of the 21st Century Garden upgrade in 2001-2002.