I think this Fig tree in Marrickville is pretty exceptional. I love the way it has grown along the fence, & not encroached on the property

I love it when I see Australian Councils doing great things about trees as it shows that we are growing in this area to follow what I perceive has been happening in the US & the UK for decades.

I recently wrote about the City of Melbourne’s initiative to increase their current canopy of 60,000 public trees by almost 100%.  See – http://bit.ly/AaoIZs  Their latest initiative is to create Exceptional Tree Register. To do this they are encouraging the community to be involved & to “recognise, celebrate & protect the exceptional trees that exist on private land in our city.”

The Woodland Trust in the UK has been doing something similar by asking the community to help them in their search for ancient trees.  They have just registered Tree Number-100,000; an ancient Juniper in North Yorkshire.  Their 100,000th ancient tree! Isn’t that stunning & still the hunt goes on.  What a great way to educate the community on the benefits of trees as well as to appreciate & protect trees.  See – http://www.ancient-tree-hunt.org.uk/

There are many exceptional trees in the grounds of St Bridget's Church in Marrickville.

Some of the criteria the City of Melbourne is using to classify an exceptional tree is its horticultural, historical, aesthetic & habitat value, whether it is rare, old or big, whether it has a historical link to its location (like the trees around the Marrickville Town Hall), whether it add to the aesthetics of the locality, has indigenous associations or a social, cultural or spiritual value. That’s a lot of areas where a private tree may fit the bill & be included on the register.  Much better than making it so hard to qualify that great trees miss out because they are not native or indigenous to the area.

We have some spectacular Oak trees in Stanmore that must have been planted in the days when deer hunting was part of the area’s recreational pastime. Forgive me if I am wrong here. Someone once told me years ago that the turrets on top of many of the grand old buildings in Stanmore were so that the local gentry could observe the deer or fox hunters as they rode past. I’d like it to be true, but would equally like to know what the turrets were for if not for this purpose.

Melbourne City Council say that they have around 20,000 private trees, near to the 25,000 public trees Marrickville Council estimate we currently have, so there is bound to be a rich choice of spectacular trees hidden away in back gardens. Add the 60,000 public trees & you can see why the city of Melbourne is a green place.  Melbourne people do love & respect their trees.

“The Exceptional Tree Register aims to –

  • Recognise & celebrate the City of Melbourne’s trees by promoting & raising awareness of existing exceptional trees.
  • Support the custodians of Melbourne’s exceptional trees by providing expert advice & opportunities to promote their tree.
  • Protect Melbourne’s exceptional trees through the Melbourne Planning Scheme so that planning permission is required to undertake any action that may harm the tree.
  • Encourage shared responsibilities for the retention & care of trees that span property boundaries.
  • Promote tree planting on private properties – trees that may become the exceptional trees of the future & increase canopy cover in our city.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our own Marrickville Council could do the same as part of the Tree Inventory process being undertaken this year.  I suspect Council would receive many nominations if they got the word out there that they were seriously interested in private trees.

I would assume at some stage Council will want to know the percentage of the private tree canopy.  Expanding this further to include a register of exceptional private trees would have many benefits, not least the opportunity to educate the community on the benefits of trees & promote a culture change to one that respects or even celebrates trees.

Though there would certainly be some that would not like their tree to be included in the register for fear of future development restrictions, such a register would go a long way to protect the wonderful trees that are being lost to development upsetting the community who see these trees as an important part of the landscape. It would also help stop the increasing loss of habitat trees for urban wildlife.  It’s food for thought anyway.  I love to know what you think.

Not in Marrickville LGA unfortunately, but this gorgeous Fig tree in Chatswood would be a real contender.