Look toward the ocean next time you make your way along Lawrence Hargrave Drive and you’re sure to see more than a few dead or dying Banksia trees.
A massive sign has been erected at Coledale where the death of a large Banksia tree has been attributed to vandalism- in the belief nearby residents have poisoned the tree in order to improve their view.
But if you look around, there are many dead trees that are not impacting anyone’s view, raising the question, are they dying of natural causes?
Questions have been raised because so many of the dead and dying trees are Banskia- whilst other nearby trees remain healthy- despite allegedly blocking views!
There’s a dead Banksia near Scarborough School. Another at the top of the road leading to Coledale Campground, another in the grounds of Austinmer Public School.
There’s a large one in the yard of a home on the cliff at Coledale.
There’s even one on the entry ramp to Coledale Hospital.
There is one in the front yard of a home on Buttenshaw Drive and a drive through the National Park will reveal several more dead Banksia along Lady Wakehurst Drive.
And if you’re driving south along the Northern Distributor, there’s a dead one in the road divider near the Wollongong exit.
That’s in addition to the numerous dead or dying Banksia along the foreshore at Coledale.
A quick Google Search uncovered this article– written 12 months ago in response to a similar situation in Sydney’s Pyrmont.
Weird coincidence? Or Could this be what’s actually killing our Banksia?
The following responses were made on Facebook:-
“Some are without doubt vandalism – the ones at Sharkeys have drill holes in the base and there are many other trees of different species that have been poisoned there too. Some have even been hacked down with a saw. Of the others, some are likely dying of phytophthora. This is an introduced fungal disease that is everywhere in the Illawarra but becomes particularly deadly when plants are stressed, which they are by the very dry weather. The reason it is selectively picking off the banksia is that this group of plants is particularly susceptible. “
Kylie Madden– courtesy Northern Illawarra Facebook