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Death row red gum prompts anger, and a warning for all Melburnians

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Botanists are urging Melburnians to remember the words of Joni Mitchell as one of the city’s most iconic red gums faces the chop.

The 300-year-old gum (pictured) at the busy Manningham Road-Bridge Street intersection in Bulleen is set to make way for the North-West Link.

That decision has prompted outcry, with the National Trust joining Manningham council in calls to save the tree.

Melbourne University botanist Dr Greg Moore joined that chorus with 3AW Breakfast this morning.

He said the tree was barely halfway through its lifespan, and stood — for now — as a symbol of what Melbourne was fast losing.

“These sorts of developments are happening all the time, and we’re losing these big old trees on the edges of Melbourne one tree at the time,” he told Ross and John.

“It’s the old Joni Mitchell song, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

Dr Moore said moving the tree was not a viable option.

“You can, but it’s incredibly difficult, and the risk is that you spend a fair bit of money and you don’t have a successful outcome.”

26,000 trees will be felled to make way for the $16 billion North-East Link.

Click PLAY to hear Ross and John’s full chat with Dr Moore