A tree surgeon and arborist has blamed heavy rain for an elm tree branch crashing into Colac’s Murray Street.
Gellibrand’s Wayne Knight said Memorial Square’s elms were healthy, but the trees had grown additional foliage because of recent rain.
“How healthy a tree is has nothing to do with its ability to hold itself up,” he said.
Mr Knight’s comments come after the branch fell off an elm tree at the Colac Custom Car and Bike Show earlier this month, smashing over motorbikes and the footpath.
“Because this year the trees have had lots of rain they’ve got lots of foliage and they’re more likely to break around weak points they have,” he said.
Mr Knight said lopping off the tops of the trees 30 years ago might have caused them to become weaker.
“When the top is cut off, it actuallyexposes the tree all the way to the ground for fungal organisms to grow in there and rot,” he said.
Mr Knight said foliage was “hanging off the edge of an empty tube”.
But he said the lopping took place before arborists were educated on the correct methods to cut trees, and that the trees were “not unhealthy”.
“People just thought that’s what you did to trees,” he said.
Mr Knight said Colac Otway Shire Council was doing an admirable job in its management of the historic elms.
“I don’t think the council is being negligent,” he said.
Mr Knight said council had replaced trees in Memorial Square over the past two decades.
“But they can’t just replace them overnight,” he said.
“The trees are not unhealthy, but they don’t have full strength just because of the decay that’s occurred.”
The most recent council inspection of the elms was last month.