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Village Green Japonica tree to be replaced

Japonica Village Green 2

The large Japonica tree that is a major landmark on the Havelock North Village Green has reached the end of its life, and will be removed to make way for another that’s been grown from one of its seeds.

Estimated to be between 100 to 130-years-old, the Japonica Sophora that sits on Te Mata Rd, behind St Colomba’s Church and just along from the towering gum tree that neighbours it, is a stunning example of the genus that is known as the Pagoda tree.

Native to China (known there as the Scholar tree) and Korea, these trees are widely planted in Japan, and are popular in public spaces for their shade and the beauty of their summer flowering display.

They generally grow to about 25m high, and while losing their leaves in winter, have a spreading, domed crown of leaves, and attractive flowers in the summer months.

For the last couple of years, the Village Green Japonica has been in decline, with very little leaf in the canopy, and despite being maintained as much as possible, it is now mostly dead, and needs to be removed.

In its place, a direct descendent will be planted thanks to the efforts of Havelock North resident Jim Watt, who in 2008 grabbed some seeds from the tree to grow at home.jim watt

“It flowered well that year and I had an amazing strike and grew about 20 to 30 seedlings, all of which were good images of the parent.”

He sold most of the plants at a St Columba’s Church Fair, but kept two growing in his garden, one of which, standing at about 2.5m tall now, he has kindly donated to Hastings District Council’s parks team to replace the tree that needs to be removed.

“It’s got a good shape, it will have three big branches coming out from the bottom of the trunk, and will grow into a good replica of the one that’s been there.”

The dead tree will start to be removed on Thursday, August 25, weather permitting, with the replacement planted immediately afterwards.

23 August 2022

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