A SCARBOROUGH woman wants the City of Stirling to donate to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) after “hacking” her prized fig tree.
Frances Strover became known as the “lady with the fig tree” to her neighbours when she started offering figs in exchange for a donation after she recovered from cancer.
“I had a run-in with cancer but I’m happy to say I’m fine, so this was our way of saying thank you to the ACRF,” she said.
“We started collecting in 2009 and we’ve donated about $7000 so far.”
Mrs Strover said City contractors lopped an estimated $200 worth of fruit from the tree last Thursday.
“Sometimes in the shops the figs cost up to $2.50 each, which is why they are so popular,” she said.
“This fig tree was already well established when we moved here in 1987.
“What is making me angry is that we have lost approximately $200 in possible donations through someone’s ignorance about how to prune a deciduous tree at this time of the year.
“They pruned the tree which was on my property. A fig tree should never be pruned at this time of year. It wasn’t actually pruned; it was hacked back.”
Stirling parks and reserves manager Ian Hunter said City tree staff were unaware of the significance of the tree to the owner and had apologised.
“Reducing some of the side foliage will affect the extent of fruit cropping for this season,” he said.
“Notes have been made on the contractor’s pruning schedule to reduce trimming in the future unless electrical safety, pedestrian access or traffic sight line issues are at play.”
Consulting arboriculturist Jonathan Epps said the tree had been lopped at the wrong time of year.
“This type of pruning is normally carried out by gardeners as they are unaware of correct pruning methods,” he said.
“Normally with an edible fig I usually prune my tree in the winter.”
Mr Hunter said the City managed more than 90,000 street trees, of which more than 35,000 were under power lines.
“To manage this, teams of street tree pruning contractors prune City trees almost all year round to a tight schedule,” he said.