Two Hills Figs (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii) are up for removal on Cavendish Street (frontage of 1 Liberty Street) Stanmore.

Marrickville Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • Root growth from the trees has caused significant sewer, infrastructure & property damage
  • Pruning of tree roots is not a viable long-term option as regrowth is certain
  • Installation of root barriers is not a viable option as pruning of roots in close proximity to the tree stems would compromise their structural integrity and present an unacceptable hazard risk

One of the Hills Figs on Cavendish Street Stanmore

The trees will be replaced following consultation for the Cavendish Street tree upgrade.

These trees also had 4 Notice of Removal signs nailed into them.

Having visited these trees, I can see the problem.  The placement of the Figs 1 metre from the boundary fence & about 2.5 metres from the back part of the house itself means that it is impossible for the offending roots to be pruned & a root barrier put in place. If Council did this, the tree would certainly fall.

There are 2 ways to deal with this problem.

  1. Chop the trees down & fix the sewerage pipes. Council wants to do this.
  2. Fix the sewerage pipes and any other damage leakage has caused & keep the trees. This will cost money that Council doesn’t have or doesn’t want to spend.

Sewer pipes can be fixed. My plumber tells me that he regularly inserts a blow-up pipe into 100-year-old cracked terracotta pipes. Sydney is full of these pipes. Once the new pipe has been expanded it sets solid like concrete & cannot be broken into by tree roots even if the tree is a good old strong Fig. Using the cheaper intervention of an electric eel to cut off roots that have entered the pipe is only a temporary solution as the roots grow back & the pipe blocks again.

I know in other places, particularly in Europe & the US, healthy trees of this size would have everything possible done to save them.

I will not be putting in a submission.  However, if there is movement in the community to save these 2 trees, I will do whatever I can to try to save them. The deadline for submissions is 9th August 2010.

Two Hills Figs up for removal in Cavendish Street Stanmore