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There is an interesting article in The Conversation written by Prof. Rod Keenan & Benjamin Preston, both from the University of Melbourne.
Some points in the article –
- Victoria currently has an average of 9 days per year of temperatures above 35C. No action on greenhouse emissions will likely result in an average of 21 days a year with temperatures above 35C by 2070.
- “Combine that with increasing urban density, more hard surfaces & less greenery, & a larger, older & more multicultural population, & the potential impacts from heatwaves start to multiply rapidly.” Think of the development already in Marrickville municipality & the huge amount of development to come.
The Authors suggest two ways to help mitigate this & I think these are applicable Australia-wide –
- Increasing the ‘green infrastructure’ by 10%. Green infrastructure means street trees, parks, green roofs, green walls & retaining water.
I’d suggest 10% is the absolute minimum, but can you imagine the positive change if the Marrickville urban forest was increased by 10%.
The City of Melbourne is planning on increasing their urban forest canopy cover from 22% to 40%. The City of Sydney is aiming to increase their urban forest by 50% by 2030 (just 16-years away) to help lower the urban heat island effect.
- 2. Education.
“Health awareness programs can promote related benefits such as improved air quality; planners can reduce the red tape involved in planting street trees; local governments can identify priority neighbourhoods for development, protect existing greenery, & implement water-sensitive urban design.”
“Increasing green infrastructure will also require the use of private space – one major challenge will be to give private landowners the incentive to keep or install greenery & incorporate vegetation into building design.”
Although Sydney has not experienced a true heatwave this summer, it has been very hot. Melbourne & Adelaide both experienced two heatwaves this January, baking over a number days. On 16th January, Adelaide was given the title of ‘the hottest city in the world’ with a temperature of 44.2C, still short of the forecasted 46C.
An article on Care2 discusses the American city of Phoenix trying to cope with 100-degree nights. “The city averages more than 100 days a year with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. (37.7C) In 2013, 115 days hit 100 degrees. In 2011, the city set a new record for days over 110 degrees (42.3C) with 33. That’s over one month of the year with scorching highs. This winter has so far been warmer than average.”
Temperatures are rising everywhere. The urban heat island effect is increasing those temperatures, & importantly, not allowing the temperature to drop after the sun goes down. Phoenix has “a shade plan for the built environment & also a plan to “frankly just plant more trees.” See – http://bit.ly/LuA1xC
We need to start planting now in both private & public spaces if we are to ever hope to be able to cope with projected temperatures. Sydney’s temperature is expected to be like living in Rockhampton in Subtropical Queensland. See – http://bit.ly/1aLsaYf
Marrickville Council needs to decide how much to increase the urban forest & set & meet targets to achieve this. The yearly budget allocation needs to be such to allow this to be achievable. I have often wondered whether public trees & parks are lower down in the budget & whether these are seen as not as important as grey infrastructure.
Certainly we need to do what we can to keep the trees we have & this means treating them for diseases, fertilizing, mulching & pruning where necessary.
In my opinion, the community needs to help Council keep new trees alive by continuing to water trees once a week when Council has stopped water 12-weeks after planting. It only takes a few hot days to lose a tree & if we look realistically, the bulk of our street trees are living in very harsh conditions. Many are either hemmed in by concrete or in visibly dry & compacted soil.
I know there are many who will baulk at the idea of watering a public tree, but it is commonplace in many countries overseas. The US for example, has a strong community involvement in public trees, whether planting them or looking after them. Both the US & the UK have community ‘Tree Wardens’ looking after public trees. These people are not tree experts. They receive training by their Local Council to do the work they do.
Keeping that tree alive will help reduce your power bills as they help cool the air around your house. Street trees clean up the air by removing particulate matter from vehicles, so better quality air comes into your home. They also increase the value of your residence or business amongst many other benefits, so it stands to reason that taking care of the tree outside your property brings significant returns. Better a living healthy tree, than a dead tree or a sapling that struggles to grow & may take many years to reach a decent size.
Older larger trees are far better at carbon sequestration than smaller trees – another reason why it makes sense to look after them.
You can read the full article here – http://bit.ly/1mQumNW
“Few residential trees die of ‘old age.’ Mechanical damage and improper tree care will kill more trees than any insects or diseases.” This poster ‘How to Kill a Tree’ by Virginia Tech University (1996) was posted to my Facebook page. It’s so good I decided to share it here.
Like me, you have probably seen a lot of these yourself.
Click the photo for a larger image.
Three cheers for Pittwater Council who recently decreased the car parking at the Avalon shops by one space to accommodate the encroaching roots of this beautiful street tree – instead of chopping it down.
Research has found that a leafy shopping area increases consumer spending by around 11 per cent, so it is in the interests of the businesses along here to keep all the trees they can. It’s great to see priority given to a tree over a parking space.
In 1997, Actor Joanna Lumley had an idea to commemorate the death of Dianna, Princess of Wales by building a garden bridge over the Thames. To many this idea may have seemed too ‘out there’ & too unfeasible.
Today community consultation starts on the design of the ‘Garden Bridge’ across the Thames from Temple to the South Bank. Called for by London Mayor Boris Johnson & designed by Architect Thomas Heatherwick CBE, the garden bridge will have real trees. “…the renowned gardener Dan Pearson, …. has a vision of 100 plant species, starting with ancient botany on the north side & changing through the glades & scarps to a pioneering planting on the south side.”
‘We are used to quite a harsh experience in the architectural landscape around us. Often environments don’t have a human scale, but plants give you that. There is something unpretentious about them — this project will have slugs & worms & autumn smells, rather than grand, Versailles-like power-planting.” ~ Architect Thomas Heatherwick CBE.
We are changing. Cities are changing. The knowledge that trees & plants are good for people’s levels of happiness & well-being is becoming part of good architecture & good urban design. With no cars & a landscape full of trees & plants, plus a water & city views, the Garden Bridge will be an extremely important & beautiful site in London. It will most certainly fill the City of London’s aim of providing somewhere for people to meet. The Garden Bridge will also be high on the list for tourists to visit. This taking iconic to a new level.
Before you read this post, remember the words of Martin Luther King who said –
“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold & silver.”
The following is some truly fascinating research by Perth CSIRO Geoscientists who have found gold particles in the leaves of shrubs & trees.
“CSIRO researchers believe the trees, sitting on top of gold deposits buried deep underground, suck up the gold in their search for moisture during times of drought. The particular trees that we did the research on appear to be bringing up gold from a remarkable 30 metres depth, which is about the equivalent of a 10-storey building.”
It is expected that this finding will have a positive impact on mining surveys, as gold deposits may be found by testing the leaves of shrubs & trees, reducing the need for drilling. So money really does grow on trees. See – http://ab.co/1cU3ie2
Something exciting is happening this month if you like trees & cycling.
Sydney Cycleways, an initiative of City of Sydney Council, is holding a group cycling tour of the city’s historic & culturally significant trees selected from their Register of Significant Trees.
The tour will take cyclists to see a range of magnificent, veteran & special trees in Hyde Park, Cook & Phillip Park, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Macquarie Place, Observatory Park, St Johns Anglican Church Glebe, finishing at Pope Paul VI Reserve in Glebe to see the light artwork, ‘Earth V Sky’ at sunset.
“Earth V Sky is a dynamic artwork by artist Allan Giddy, composed of the City of Sydney’s first wind turbine and new technology which continuously samples the colour of the sky. Using this data, 9 lights bathe two magnificent Moreton Bay fig trees in a spectrum of coloured light during sunset. The lights appear to fade in gently & are initially barely noticeable on the trees at close range. They subtly increase in intensity over an hour, moving through a spectrum of colours in response to the sunset, reflecting the reverse colours in the sky. The lights then fade to black, along with the night sky, after 1 hour & 15 minutes.”
You can watch a 1.5 minute YouTube video of ‘Earth V Sky’ here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gPePpsOVbQ
The organisers say it will be a relaxed ride of around 10 kilometres. This should be fun.
WHEN: Sunday 27th October 2013
WHERE TO MEET: Sydney Town Hall steps. 483 George Street Sydney
For more information, including the trees on the route see – http://bit.ly/19Yac3i
Marrickville Council has released a report on their recent community consultation regarding our urban forest. They gathered this information in four different ways –
- Telephone survey of 400 residents.
- Web survey – 391 people took part.
- Stakeholder workshop with the Environment Committee & the Cooks River Committee.
- Review of Customer Service complaints & requests regarding street trees.
The majority of the 400 residents who participated in the telephone survey believed Marrickville LGA to be attractive. More than half said this was because of trees & plants on the streets. The rest believe the best way to increase attractiveness was to increase trees, plants & greenery. A whopping 20% did not want street trees in Marrickville Local Government Area.
Those surveyed had the following preferences for street trees –
- Evergreen & native Australian trees or trees endemic to Marrickville LGA.
- A mix of two or more species in the same street.
- Between 10-15 metres in height.
- Broad spreading thin canopy that provides filtered shade.
The online survey had similar results with more people concerned about care & maintenance of street trees. Some reported problems with street trees.
Council’s review of complaints & requests regarding street trees showed that 39% concerned pruning a street tree, 18% reporting a hazardous street tree & 16% requesting a street tree be removed.
No information was given about the outcomes from the stakeholder workshop with the Environment Committee & the Cooks River Committee.
The Draft Street Tree Master Plan ideas in brief were –
- Increasing the canopy cover.
- The identification of many new planting sites, particularly planting in-road & in industrial areas.
- Planting medium stature trees, which are larger than what is currently the norm for almost half of our street trees.
- Replacing short stature trees with medium stature trees over time.
- Planting locally indigenous & native tree species to improve biodiversity.
- Include water sensitive urban design in identified sites.
- Planting the right tree for the right place to increase shade, while not blocking solar access.
- Reconsider planting street trees in verges less than 1.5-metres wide.
Although the Tree Inventory identified 263 public tree species across Marrickville LGA, which sounds good, over 45% came from only five species. These are –
- Callistemon viminalis (Weeping Bottlebrush)
- Melaleuca bracteata (Black Tea Tree)
- Tristaniopsis laurina (Water Gum) – very slow growing,
- Fraxinus griffithii (Evergreen Ash) – classified as a new & emerging weed in NSW. Both the Global Compendium of Weeds & ‘CRC for Australian Weed Management’ classifies Fraxinus griffithii as an environmental weed, &
- Lagerstroemia indica (Crepe myrtle).
The report went on to say under the heading of ‘Planting Trees for the Future,’ that Council will –
- Improve the range of tree species planted.
- Increase the urban forest canopy by planting in industrial areas.
- Plant taller larger growing trees on the side of the street that has no powerlines &
- Investigate in-road planting opportunities.
- They will also investigate the installation of Aerial Bundled Cabling to allow trees to grow around powerlines.
I must say that I am pleased with these results. Findings such as planting locally indigenous & Australian native trees did not surprise me, nor did planting evergreen trees. The number one complaint I hear about street trees is leaf litter. It is not an exaggeration to say many people despise leaf litter. I’ve lost count of the people who have told me they want a street tree removed because it drops leaves.
16 per cent of residents requesting a street tree be removed is quite high a number when you think about it. Hopefully this will change for the better with Council’s plan to plant the right tree in the right place. There was no information regarding how many of these requests are granted.
I was shocked that one fifth of those surveyed did not want street trees. This affirms the urgency for Council to educate the community about the value of trees. If people knew that trees increase learning ability in girls, calm down children with ADHD as well as adults with dementia & reduce violence as well as many other benefits, they might see trees differently.
If the 20 per cent got their wish & we did not have street trees, property values across the whole municipality would plummet. Recent research has shown that respiratory illnesses, heart disease & fatal heart attacks would increase significantly. Depressive & anxiety illnesses would also skyrocket.
In Marrickville municipality we cannot afford NOT to have street trees because there are not enough trees on private property to make up the difference. Both people & wildlife rely on the many benefits street trees provide.
It would be great if Council could continue their education about the benefits of the urban forest with every opportunity that arises. Certainly the information, stories & photos about verge gardens in Marrickville Matters is having a positive impact with what seems to be a boom of enthusiasm towards & the actual creation of new verge gardens across Marrickville LGA.
I love that Council will be investigating opportunities for in-road planting. All the best streets have these & although some car parking spaces are lost, the benefits are worth it in my opinion. In-road street trees definitely increase property values as well as improve livability.
I am also very pleased that taller growing trees will be planted on the side of the road where there are no powerlines. It just makes sense. That industrial areas will be planted with trees is also a terrific outcome & will most certainly make these areas much nicer for the workers, as well as increase food sources & habitat for our wildlife. It may also reduce sick leave according to research about the impact a view of trees has in work environments. More trees mean more birds & more birds makes for a nicer living environment.
Council is offering the community another opportunity to give feedback on this report. You can download the report here – http://yoursaymarrickville.com.au/document/show/267
The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 30th August 2013.
Today we joined around 1,000 people (staff estimate) of all ages to plant 4,500 plants in an area of around two football fields in Sydney Park. The plants were indigenous to the Sydney Basin were chosen to create an understorey, slow down stormwater, as well as provide habitat, particularly for smaller birds. Nearby areas with similar plants gave a good idea what today’s work will look like when the plants have established themselves.
The City of Sydney Council, Planet Ark & their sponsor Toyota organized the event. There was an entertainment area centered around a stage & a series of tents. Registration gave participants the choice an ice-cream or a barbequed sausage roll/vegetarian pattie, a free ‘plant the container as well’ plant to take home & entry into a raffle. I’ve forgotten the prizes, but remember liking them at the time. We were also given an organic cotton ‘National Tree Day’ t-shirt.
First there was a very nice welcome to Gadigal Country by an Aboriginal Elder whose name I did not catch & then other speeches from the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, a representative from the sponsors Toyota & a representative from Planet Ark.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore planted ‘tree number 20-million’ since Planet Ark started National Tree Day in 1996. She thanked the community for all their help in transforming what was once a dump into Sydney Park with a tree canopy that is getting denser every year.
There were chickens & face painting for the kids, plus exhibits ranging from types of compost, vertical gardens, green walls & growing in a bag for those who don’t have much room. There was also yoga for families & demonstrations of DIY gardening.
Because there were so many people, planting was done in four shifts to allow everyone a chance to be involved. Staff gave onsite training on how to plant & then took participants to the area to be planted.
The community planted 26 species of plants, some of which were Acacia, Correa, Grevillea, Kunzea & Hakeas. Staff would have mulched & watered the area at the end of the event, which was a massive job.
Planet Ark released their latest research today – ‘Missing Trees: The Inside Story of An Outdoor Nation,’ which revealed a number of quite startling results. Some are as follows, but I will write more about this in a later post –
- “For every hour we spend outside, we spend over 7 hours in front of screens watching television or on the Internet.
- Approximately 1 in 3 people spend less than 18 minutes per day doing outdoor recreational activities.
- 1 in 4 children under 16 years spend on average less than 2 hours of the spare time per week playing in natural outdoor areas.
- …people living in units or flats spend 3.5 hours per week doing outdoor activities, while those living in separate houses with large backyards spend 5.1 hours per week doing outdoor recreational activities.
- …visiting or entertaining friends or family is a low priority for many Australians, with only 3% of leisure time was devoted to this activity in 2006.”
- Over a 30-day period – “only 39% of respondents visited a park or reserve.”
- One in two parents said their children did not play in the gardens or bushland in an urban park.
- 32% said their children have never been camping. 29% said their children have never been bushwalking.”
Worse is the following -
- “1 in 4 children have never climbed a tree.
- 1 in 4 children have never cared for a vegetable garden.”
With results like the above, events like National Tree Day & Schools Tree Day become extremely important in the lives of young people as this may be the first time they have planted something. They get to contribute & later see the results of their work. For kids who are essentially nature deficit, this kind of experience can be life-changing.
I find it sad to see how disconnected to nature many children are these days. I spent many hours almost every day in my childhood running around fields & parks with my friends, playing with dirt, branches & rocks & whatever else we could find, building a cubby houses & hours spent sitting high in a tree with a friend gossiping about whatever grabbed our interest that day. We had school & home & outside time in almost even quantities.
Today’s National Tree Day event was enjoyable & interesting. Having read the research I think it may have meant a lot more to those people who don‘t often get out into parks, or get their hands dirty. City of Sydney Council & Planet Ark went to a lot of trouble to ensure that there was something for everyone & that learning was passive & not at all threatening. It was a very good event.
Marrickville Council National Tree Day event
Marrickville Council has a planting site for National Tree Day at ‘Wave Rock’ in Marrickville Golf Course. Wave Rock is a lovely rock, situated between mangroves, that sweeps down to the Cooks River. Marrickville Council said on 2nd July 2013 in a comment on this blog that they will be planting 2 Melaleuca styphelioides, 1 Angophora costata, 1 Eucalyptus botryoides & 1 Eucalyptus robusta at the Wave Rock site as part of National Tree Day.
“We will be creating an important link in the river’s biodiversity corridor by planting a diverse range of shrubs, grasses & groundcovers from the sandstone heath & floodplain forest vegetation communities around the sandstone outcrop by the river.”
“Council will provide gloves, hand trowels & some other tools for planting, as well as sunscreen. Drinking water & snacks will also be provided. Please wear appropriate clothing for planting & for the weather conditions on the day. Children are welcome & must be under parent or carer’s supervision at all times on the site. The site is accessible for the physically disabled & is relatively flat but the ground is grassy it is uneven. Planting will go ahead if overcast or showers, but will be postponed if there is a storm.”
The community is invited to join the Marrickville Landcare group & the Mudcrabs in the ongoing management of the site.
WHEN: This coming Sunday 28th July 2013.
TIME: 10.30am – 1.00pm
LOCATION: Wave Rock on the Cooks River at Marrickville Golf Course. Wave Rock is easily accessed by walking along the river from Illawarra Road, from Bruce Street (limited parking) or from the car park in Marrickville Golf Course. See – http://bit.ly/12GBjaV
City of Sydney & Planet Ark National Tree Day event
Tree planting will be happening in Sydney Park. There will also be a ‘Tree-mendous’ family yoga class (10:15am-10:45am), plus DIY gardening demonstrations & a gift of a plant in an espresso-to-grow cup or a plantable ice cream cone. There will be native animals & face painting for the kids & a free sausage sizzle or vegie pattie for participants. The Vege Patch Van will be on-site for coffee & other food options. The event is accessible for the disabled. Council asks that you wear covered shoes & bring your own drink bottles for water to reduce waste.
WHEN: This coming Sunday 28th July 2013
TIME: 10.00am – 1.00pm
LOCATION: Sydney Park – south of Maintenance Depot & Nursery. Barwon Park Road St Peters.
Rockdale City Council National Tree Day event
Tree planting will be happening at Broadford Street Reserve – a key vegetation corridor & previous National Tree Day site.
Rockdale City Council asks participants to wear appropriate clothing (hat, covered shoes, long sleeved shirt & long pants recommended). People with open shoes, thongs or bare feet will not be permitted to participate.
WHEN: This coming Sunday 28th July 2013
TIME: 9:00am – 11:30am
LOCATION: Bardwell Valley Rockdale. Directions – Head down steps at the southern end of Broadford Street Reserve (the steps are below LLoyde Street although no access from Lloyde Street). Site is to the right from the bottom of the steps just off the path along Bardwell Creek. Not accessible for disabled.
Ashfield Council National Tree Day event
Tree planting happening at the corner of Hawthorne Parade & Marion Street Haberfield. The event is accessible for disabled.
Ashfield Council asks participants to wear appropriate clothing (hat, covered shoes, long sleeved shirt and long pants recommended). Council will provide tree planting tools & snacks & refreshments as well as a free plant.
WHEN: This coming Sunday 28th July 2013
TIME: 9:00am – 12:00pm
LOCATION: Hawthorn Canal – corner of Hawthorne Parade & Marion Street Haberfield.
Randwick City Council National Tree Day event
Tree planting happening at Arthur Byrne Reserve, Maroubra Beach. “Council will supply thousands of native plants, gardening tools, sunscreen and drinking water. The local Lions Club will be hosting a sausage sizzle & there will be fun stuff to keep the little ones entertained.”
Council asks that participants wear appropriate clothing (hat, covered shoes, long sleeved shirt & long pants). They will provide all that you need to plant, plus drinking water & a barbeque. Site is accessible for the disabled.
WHEN: This coming Sunday 28th July 2013
TIME: 10:00am – 12:00pm
LOCATION: Arthur Byrne Reserve Maroubra Beach. Nearest Cross Street is Mons Avenue.
There are many other tree planting events in Sydney, which you can find at the Planet Ark site - http://bit.ly/118WVPM
Terrible news of tree vandalism in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens with vandals ringbarking three trees & damaging several others in an overnight rampage. The vandalism was discovered yesterday morning.
The Separation Tree, a 400-year-old River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) was ringbarked – still recovering from the last time vandals ringbarked this tree in 2010. The Separation Tree was planted in 1850 as a symbol of the separation of the Colony of Victoria, hence its name.
A Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) & a Brushbox planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 were also ringbarked.
The garden’s chief executive, Professor Tim Entwisle said, “he hoped the native trees would survive, but was particularly concerned about the Separation Tree because it was fragile after being similarly damaged in 2010. He said the River Red gum tree, which marks where Victorian citizens gathered on 15 November 1850 to celebrate the separation of the state from New South Wales, is one of the most significant & beloved trees in the gardens.”
Most of the cactus plants in the Gardens were destroyed last month in separate act of vandalism.
You have to ask why someone or some people would get their kicks out of vandalizing trees. I don’t understand it.
See – http://bit.ly/15819YA