Most grey nomads know to be very wary about parking underneath gum trees, but they are certainly not the only species to be cautious around … particularly in Darwin.
A giant African mahogany tree has dropped a two-tonne limb on a rental van parked in the NT capital’s CBD. Luckily, the van was unoccupied at the time but the huge branch smashed the driver’s window and broke a wing mirror.
The NT news reports that African mahoganies were planted at an almost industrial scale after Cyclone Tracy as part of the city’s regeneration. While they are fast growing and provide plenty of shade, their relatively shallow root system means they are prone uprooting during serious weather events, and they can also drop limbs without warning.
In 2014 a man died after the branch of an African mahogany fell at Gardens Park Golf Links. In 2006 a nine-year-old boy died after being struck by a falling branch while at school.
The council has not planted any new African mahoganies since 1996.
City of Darwin engineering and city services general manager, Dr Emma Young told the NT News that trees were subject to six-monthly inspections, routine maintenance and pruning.
“Any tree, including African mahoganies, at times drop limbs,” she said. “We have regular inspections, including this tree, done by highly qualified arborists based on tree assessments.
Dr Young said the focus was to make sure high-use areas like schools, golf courses and high-risk parks were inspected.