UPDATE - November 23, 2018: Upon further review, the City has determined to retain the second Empress Tree at Memorial Park.
We have some unfortunate news to share with you, the 2nd ‘Empress Tree’ (Paulownia tomentosa) will have to be removed at the waterfront area.
Our City Arborists reported that “The tree was in decline, has a large cavity in the main stem indicating a large rot pocket, that one third of the tree is now dead and that when checked in the summer, the leaves in the tree were very limp indicating poor water intake and root damage though the accepted tree barriers were still in place.”
Due to the extensive root damage, the tree will be unstable and will fall onto the railway tracks once the retaining wall is removed per the Municipal Park Project.
The decision to remove the Empress Tree was not easy, we heard you the last time and have taken steps to keep the trunk and will look at ways we can honour it such as through a public art piece.
Below are images of the Empress Tree where you can see the cavity, on the left. The image on the right is the tree as it stands today, the area in the blue circle is where the tree is dead.
While the removal of the Empress Tree is unfortunate, the City will plan to plant two (2) new Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) trees in its place in the middle of November. The Pin Oak, is a large full, ovate shaped tree, with a growth rate of 24 inches or more per year and is one of the faster-growing oak trees.
City Arborist noted that “This will be the same variety of tree as the one that will replace the 1st Empress tree, both trees will have 99% survivability rate and both trees will be about 25 feet tall (8 metres).” The new Pin Oak is shown in the picture below.