A memorial tree in the Government Gardens has succumbed to an insect infestation and been removed.

Although locals are saddened by the news it had to be removed, the good news is it will be replaced.

The lone pine was planted in the Government Gardens in 2015 as part of WW100 commemorations.

Gifted to Rotorua by Scion, the seedling was removed late last week but Scion has offered a replacement, which will be planted in due course.

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Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick, who also chairs the city's WW100 Committee, said it was obviously sad to hear about this.

"The commemorations have been important for Rotorua and for New Zealand, and this tree symbolised that.

"We were very lucky to get a seedling, a descendant of the famed Lone Pine at Gallipoli.

"I had enjoyed watching our tree grow in its Government Gardens spot and I'm very pleased that we've been able to secure a replacement."

The young tree was one of 50 seedlings propagated from a Turkish red pine which grows at Paeroa Golf Course and is an authenticated descendant of the Gallipoli peninsula's original Lone Pine.

While the Rotorua seedling had been thriving at its location near the Princes Gate entrance to the Government Gardens, it recently fell victim to a mealybug infestation which caused its deterioration.

Scion nursery manager Peter Harington said the nursery had retained a few spare seedlings and was able to provide a replacement.

Rotorua RSA president William McDonald said they were disappointed the lone pine in the Government Gardens had to be replaced, but were relieved a new seedling would be planted.

"We are very thankful that Scion has the ability to replace it."

He said the Lone Pine was a tangible remembrance of the sacrifices of the past.

Mealybug:
- Mealybugs are soft-bodied, wingless insects that often appear as white cottony masses on the leaves, stems and fruit of plants.
- They feed by inserting long sucking mouthparts, called stylets, into plants and drawing sap out of the tissue.
- At high pest levels they can cause leaf yellowing and curling as the plant weakens.
Source: www.planetnatural.com