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Recent closures of Melbourne Garden

Melbourne’s recent wild and windy weather has seen the Melbourne Garden close twice in the past week in the interests of visitor safety.

On the mornings of Thursday 26 September and Monday 30 September, staff responded to the ‘extreme’ and ‘severe’ weather warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology by closing the gates around Melbourne’s iconic garden.

Prof. Tim Entwisle said the decision to close the Gardens was not taken lightly.

“The Gardens are here for the public to enjoy but on these rare occasions, the predicted winds are so strong we can’t guarantee safety. We’re just not willing to take that chance that someone might be injured or even killed by a falling branch when it could have been so easily prevented by closing until the danger passes.”

“On average, the Gardens closes just once a year due to weather conditions, so the recent closures in close succession are quite unusual.”

The Arboriculture team have been kept busy tiding up many dropped tree limbs (including large limbs from a River Red Gum on Princes Lawn and a Fig at A Gate), fallen trees (including Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) near B gate, which fell on a Chinese Elm (Ulmus parviflora) and even uprooted trees (including a century-old Spotted Gum near E Gate) during the past week.

Will Jones, Manager of the Gardens’ Arboriculture Team said despite a thorough tree maintenance program even the healthiest trees can be struck down by a sudden wind gust.

“All year round we are checking the trees onsite for evidence of decay and structural weaknesses. If we detect a significant pocket of decay, we use sound wave technology ascertain whether the tree is safe enough to remain in the Gardens” said Will “but as we’ve seen over the last few days, even some of the healthiest of trees can be uprooted if hit on the right angle by a strong wind gust.”

Find out more about Tree management at the Royal Botanic Gardens.