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Concrete and trees: An uncommon pairing

Light has been shed on the rare practice of filling a tree with concrete with blue gum at Anglesea Barracks in Hobart, the oldest Australian Army barracks. 

A report by the ABC  highlighted the tree which was in a state of decline for years before a local arborist filled the blue gum with half a cubic metre of concrete.

At the time it was a regular process across the country with the overarching thought being the concrete would strengthen the tree’s trunk and supports its growth.

Some academics argue against the practice now as materials that can move and grow with the tree, like expanding foam, can be used. Concrete does not move and as a result, some academics disagree.

Other products like sand and asphalt mixture have also been used to fill the cavities in trees in the past.

Contractor Mark Sherman said to the ABC how the Anglesea fill-in job came about.

“We’d sort of laughed and joked about filling it with concrete,” Sherman said to the ABC.

“[The arborist] turned straight around and said ‘well that’s probably the perfect thing’.

“The tree’s health now is probably better than what it was in those days.

“I guess it’s been one hundred per cent successful. The tree is still here, still standing.”

While concrete, sand and asphalt are commonly associated within the quarry industry and wider population as a building materials, it goes to show the variety of uses that those materials can have.

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