Wild weather causes havoc with Auckland’s trees

Publish Date : 30 May 2024
Washington Ave, Glendowie
A downed tree on Washington Ave, Glendowie.

While Auckland was facing a wild and windy Wednesday night, Auckland Council’s arborist team and its contractors were out making sure Aucklanders were safe from falling tree limbs and property damage.

A stormy Wednesday saw gusts wreaking havoc across the region and led to our team responding to over 160 callouts for tree debris and damage during the worst of the weather.

Regional Arborists and Ecological Manager David Stejskal says the wild and windy conditions brought down trees and tree limbs, spread debris and unsettled even some of our strongest trees.

“While the worst of the weather was hitting the region, we received 154 requests for tree work – 98 of which were classed as critical – with our crews out in force to respond to them all. We saw wind gusts of more than 120km/h across the region, and combined with soggy ground conditions, meant even the healthiest of trees can come down or become unstable,” says David.

By 11pm, the number of requests had grown to 154 – from fallen trees, buckled fences and even a callout for a tree that had been struck by lightning.

A tree with a scar after being struck by lightning.

A tree with a scar after being struck by lightning.

“All of our contractor crews were out and staying on top of the calls coming in from Aucklanders. Under these sorts of conditions, their role is to make the site safe within an hour and keep responding to call outs – we’re pleased to say that they were able to maintain this level of service all evening,” says David.

“Remember – trees down on public property can be reported to Auckland Council via our website.”

The second burst of jobs that are logged, to respond to tree damage, comes with daylight and both residents and arborist crews getting out and about to survey the impacts of a weather event.

As of midday on Thursday 30 May, a total of 300 tree-related jobs had been logged with the council’s arborist team and contractors. Two thirds of these are classified as Critical, Major or Urgent (223) and 107 are lower impact or business as usual type requests.

“We have ten crews out working on resolving these requests, with the highest impact incidents taking priority,” says David. “We expect to have cleared all tasks within a week.”

Most of the 330 requests apply to street trees or trees on public land, with only six cases resulting in damage to private property.

What to do if you see a downed tree

Trees that have fallen on public land or debris, like branches or foliage, that is causing obstruction or blockages can be reported to the council using our Report a problem tool.

Provide as much information as you can, like the location, how badly the tree has been affected or the impact it is having on access, and if there is any danger to life or property. You can also upload photos to your request.

If tree damage is impacting on powerlines, please report via Report a problem.

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