I have drawn a yellow line at the base of this Fig tree to be removed to show its size.  Fig trees behind it make the canopy look fuller than it is.

I have drawn a yellow line at the base of this Fig tree to be removed to show its size. Fig trees behind it make the canopy look fuller than it is.

Marrickville Council has given notice that they intend to remove 4 Fig trees from Petersham Park in Petersham.

Tree number 1:   Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) at the northern end of the park.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree have been previously identified for replacement as part of the Petersham Park Master Plan 2011.
  • Tree is over mature & in a state of decline.
  • Major structural limbs have extensive internal decay & dieback.
  • Viable treatment options are limited due to the age of the tree.
  • The tree presented an unacceptable risk to infrastructure & public safety.”

Council says they will replace this tree with a Queensland Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta) – 500L size during 2013 planting season.

Another view of this Fig tree up for removal

Another view of this Fig tree up for removal

This Fig tree was visible across the oval on the West Street side of Petersham Park.  It is still a beautiful tree, but has obvious   problems.

That Council is planning to plant such a tall growing tree as a Kauri pine thrills me.  There is much that makes Petersham Park one of our better parks (I would put it in the Top 5) & the abundance of tall leafy trees is a major part of this.  Unfortunately, many of our parks do not have as many trees as Petersham Park in proportion to size & this is not only disappointing, but also a wasted opportunity.

I’ve heard some Marrickville Councillors say tall trees should only be in parks, as part of their argument to remove a street tree.  That would be fine if our parks were actually full of tall trees.  Enmore Park has lots of trees & some are bigger than what we are used to in our streets, but if you went to Beauchamp Park in Chatswood you would see that the trees in Enmore Park are at most medium stature trees & that the trees in Beauchamp Park are considerably taller.

So with Council planting a Kauri pine in a park where it has room to grow – it can reach up to 50-metres – means this tree will become a visible landmark benefiting more than the locals or those that use this park.  It may even become a landmark tree.

Kauri pines grow tall & straight with a large open crown of tough leathery green leaves.  As they do not have datable growth rings we do not know how long they can live.   It is thought that they can reasonably be expected to exceed 300-years, though it may be closer to 200-years. http://www.conifers.org/ar/Agathis_robusta.php

Either way, a really tall native Australian tree growing in a park where it has a much greater chance of reaching somewhere near its potential & may well be still alive when your grandchildren have their grandchildren is exciting.  It’s also a good tree for kids to learn about, so school excursions may well be seen at Petersham Park.  The trees have both male & female flowers & the pinecones they produce are also considered good tucker for Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos. The tree itself makes for good habitat.  Well done Marrickville Council.

Trees number 2, 3 & 4:   Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla) x 3.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Trees have been previously identified for replacement as part of the Petersham Park Master Plan 2011.
  • Trees are in poor condition & inappropriately located.
  • They are being removed to make way for superior quality advanced size replacement trees.”

Council says they will replace these 3 trees with 1 x Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) – 800L size & 1 x Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) – 500L size during 2013 planting season.

I am disappointed that Council is not replacing the trees at least 1:1.  Removing three trees to replace with two will not increase the urban forest.  There were many trees in Petersham Park that Council listed for removal in their Petersham Park Master Plan 2011, so planting more trees now will help mitigate the loss of the other trees, which will surely occur in the future.  I also did not understand why the trees are considered to be ‘inappropriately located’ as they form a reasonably continuous line of Fig trees around part of the park’s perimeter.  Other species of trees continue the design approach of perimeter planting.  If it is because of the footpath, they put it there.

All three trees are a mess & come nowhere near what they should look like.  I am pleased Council will be using advanced trees to replace these.

I will not be putting in a submission regarding any of these tree removals.

The deadline for any submissions is Tuesday 25th June 2013.  council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

Here are all 3 Figs up for removal in a line.  They look better than they are in reality.

Here are all 3 Figs up for removal in a line. They look better than they are in reality.

This is the middle Fig tree.

This is the middle Fig tree.

This is the Fig tree at the end of the row.

This is the Fig tree at the end of the row with the footpath right to its base.  Paths have been built right next to Fig trees elsewhere in Petersham Park.

 

 

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