Almost a year to the day since it collapsed, the infamous palm tree outside Ballarat's Civic Hall is dead, council has confirmed.
The City of Ballarat said in a statement the terminal part of the palm where the prongs grow from has died, "so the palm will not survive much longer".
"This is always a risk when relocating very mature trees," the statement said.
"The palm was gifted to the City of Ballarat from a sandy soil location and had not managed to maintain moisture in transit, which was detrimental to the tree.
"Its condition has been determined by a City of Ballarat qualified arborist."
The Courier spoke to several independent arborists across town this week, all of whom declined to go on the record.
However, of the seven arborists spoken to, three noted the tree was "not looking good" or worse.
The other four declined to comment.
Palm trees grow from the top - the "heart" or apical meristem.
If that's damaged, the tree is effectively dead - in this case, the segment may have been damaged when it fell on November 9, the day after it was planted.
No one was injured when the tree fell onto a construction fence.
The tree was gifted to Ballarat from the former Echuca Secondary College site - a media release from council at the time notes it was part of a Major Road Projects bridge construction project.
"The relocation of the palms is a requirement of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project, with their removal to be inspected by Yorta Yorta National Aboriginal Corporation representatives to ensure preservation of any culturally significant artefacts on site," the November release said.
Council is already looking for a replacement palm tree "from a local area", so soil may match better.
The remaining two trees "are surviving", the statement adds, though support structures will stay in place for another 12 months to ensure root systems are robust enough to support them.
This matches advice from arborists to keep support structures for at least a year after trees are transplanted.
Council did not respond to a question about the cost of the project.
Speaking to The Courier last year, council's infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo said initial transport for the palms was $16,000 with VicRoads meeting a portion of those costs.
Council paid around $20,000 to put the three trees in the ground, and further crane hire to re-erect the fallen tree and reinforce the two other palms is expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000.
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