The pine trees are removed. Picture by Brock PerksAILING Norfolk Island pine trees at Wickham with a disease that threatened the health of other similar trees in Newcastle were removed today.

Thirty pine trees growing on the median strip on Hannell Street suffered from a pathogen, which was discovered last year.

Newcastle City Council infrastructure services manager John Johnston says the trees needed to be removed to reduce the risk of the disease spreading to the remainder of the city’s pine population.

“We discovered that a number of pines were dying and enlisted the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney to assist with testing, treating and monitoring these pines,’’ Mr Johnston said.

He said the trees were suffering from several problems but the pathogen was the likely cause of their decline.

All efforts to save the trees failed, Mr Johnston said.

The council said the disease could spread to the city’s estimated 2200 pine population.

The most important groups of city pines are those on the Foreshore and King Edward Park.

A design for replacement planting in Hannell Street will be prepared in accordance with the street tree master plan, Mr Johnston said.

The council plans to replace the pines in 2013.