The first of the 55 trees slated for the chop at the Civic Centre have been found to be hollowed and rotten.
Arboriculturists have felled the first of the 55 trees at the Civic Centre today, saying it was clear the trees had been hollowed out by an infestation of termites and defoliated by corellas.
The owner of Katherine Tree Maintenance, Pete Wasley said about 70 per cent of his work in Katherine is removing trees damaged by termites.
Over the past couple of years, possibly because the wet seasons continue to produce below average rainfalls, termites have become a significant problem, he said.
"Every week we remove trees with termite damage. They are everywhere and if left they can cause issues to other trees or even get into the wood in houses," Mr Wasley said.
"All trees in parks need an active management plan, and regular inspections. I don't like removing them."
Once treated for termites trees often can be left for around five years, depending on the condition and the location.
The trees are due to be removed over the next couple of weeks in four stages following an assessment by a qualified arborist, which left Katherine's Mayor Fay Miller "stick to her stomach".
At the last Katherine Town Council meeting Mayor Miller said it was with "the greatest of reluctance" the decision was made "however there is no question but to make the safety of our community the number one priority".
Mr Wasley said the trees posed a risk to the high traffic area at the Civic Centre, which includes a carpark.
"When we cut the first one on Friday we found the internal core of the tree had been badly eaten out by termites and there was a lot of rot," he said.
"The integrity of the tree when it has been eaten by termites means it is nowhere near as strong.
"In a public place like this, with lots of cars entering and exiting it was too dangerous to keep them."
The removal of the river red gums, which are estimated to be about 25 years old, will be complimented with a tree replanting program.
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