This Sydney Blue Gum on Tempe Street Stanmore is up for removal.

Another view of the tree

Marrickville Council have given notification that they intend to remove a Lemon Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora)outside 16 Temple Street Stanmore.

Council gave the following reasons why they want to remove this tree –

  • “Independent consulting arborist has recommended the tree be removed.
  • Several recent incidences of branch failure recorded.
  • An independent analysis found that this individual tree has demonstrated a greater propensity to branch failure under wind load than most typical trees.
  • The level of risk from this tree cannot be anticipated & is impractical to effectively manage.”

Council says they intend to replace this tree with a Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina) during the 2012-2013 annual tree-planting program.

As I was taking photos of the tree a resident rushed out & asked me if Council planned to follow through with the removal of this tree.  He was very angry & said something like, “Trees drop branches. So what. That’s what trees do.  It’s a native & really good for the environment.”

I feel conflicted regarding this tree.  Yes, trees do drop branches.  Yes, there is a chance that a falling branch could hurt or kill someone or damage property.  However, Sydney’s North Shore has many thousands of these planted as street trees, even along the Pacific Highway. When a branch falls there, the Councils don’t chop the tree down.  So many people have told me that they live on the North Shore because trees make it such a lovely environment. They accept that trees drop branches occasionally & see this as a non-issue.

While I was driving home I was wondering what the statistics would be just for Marrickville municipality with car accidents & injury or property damage from street trees.  Then two cars collided in front of me.

We are at a risk when driving every day, yet a street tree is seen as a really dangerous thing.

Marrickville Council estimates they have around 25,000 public trees.  I’d feel comfortable saying that these trees have caused minimal damage when compared to cars, yet they bring us so many benefits.  Ask any Real Estate Agent & they would say that this tree adds considerable value to the property it is outside of as well to the properties on either side.  I’d suggest it also adds value to the properties across the street as well.

When I looked at the streetscape it became obvious that this was an important tree. It is far better than the majority of the trees around it in capturing carbon, giving out oxygen, improving air quality (important because there are at least two main roads nearby) & it is a very important food source for urban wildlife.  It also creates shade & cools the street.

There is another Eucalypt of comparable size just 7 houses up the hill. Why is Council not recommending that this tree should be removed as well?  There are other tall Gum trees in this area. Should these be chopped down too?

Council says, “An independent analysis found that this individual tree has demonstrated a greater propensity to branch failure under wind load than most typical trees.”  I’d like to learn more about this.  Why is this tree’s propensity higher?

Personally, I think Council should be doing all that they can to keep healthy trees of this height & quality.  Its removal will be a tremendous loss to the whole community, not just the residents of Temple Street.

Also Marrickville Council used 16 staples to attach their signs to the tree. This is very disappointing.

Any submissions are due by Wednesday 31st October 2012.

I tried to find some recent statistics relating to injury or death by falling tree branches.  All I could find was the following.

From a 2012 article about tree injury & death in New York City –

  • “There are roughly 2.5 million trees in the NYC’s parks & on its streets. 
  • The total number of tree injuries is relatively small — in the five years ending in 2011, 51 people were injured, including 2 who were killed, on New York City streets & in parks.”

“There were 435 road transport fatalities & over 25,800 people injured in road transport incidents in NSW in 2007.”

The footpath is not in a bad condition, though it has had some repair work.

Showing where 3 branches have come off. One looks like it has been cut with a saw.

What looks to me to be another Sydney Blue Gum is only 7 houses away.  How long before this tree is removed?