Bushpocket site in Ruby Street Marrickville.  I will take photos of the new work soon.  This is a photo from 2012.

Bushpocket site in Ruby Street Marrickville. This is a photo from 2012. I have not seen the new planting work yet.

Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore asked the following Question on Notice – Tree planting, canopy & Street Tree Masterplan at the Council Meeting of 25 June 2013.

Bold is Clr Ellsmore’s questions.  Council’s answers are below. Any response from me is in italics & in square brackets.

1.     How many trees are scheduled to be planted in the 2013 planting period & how many were planted in the 2012 annual planting period?

2012 – 438 completed.

2013 – 320 proposed.

2.     How many trees has Council planted in the current planting period, to date?

The total number of street trees planted in the 2013 period (1st January – 1st June 2013) is 71.

 3.     What percentage of these plants are native species & what percentage are semi-mature trees as opposed to saplings?

Within the current 2013 planting 80% are native.  All plantings are 45 litres or greater.

[Winter Hill Tree Farm provide the following information about 45 litre trees – 45-litre pot or bag, 15-25mm calliper, height 1.5 – 2 metre height, spread 0.6 – 1metre. 

The first new street tree plantings I saw that were taller than me was on Calvert Street Marrickville last year.  These were replacement trees after newly planted saplings were vandalised. The original trees were much shorter & I was impressed that the new trees were 2-metres plus as they would be more obvious if they were vandalised.  I’ve always believed taller trees are less likely to be vandalised & so far these trees have been left alone.   I’ve been looking at new street tree planting for 4-years & believe that it is a recent practice for Council to plant new street trees of such height as a norm. I applaud this.] 

4.     Will Council achieve the planned number of plantings in the 2013 planting period?  (include details of targets).

Yes, 320 trees to be planted before end of July 2013.

[In answer 2 Council says they have planted 71 trees so far. This leaves 249 trees to be planted by the end of July.]

5.     Will Council undertake any Capital Tree Planting in 2013 & if so, where?

Yes, Enmore Park & Petersham Park.

[I don’t know what Capital Tree Planting is & would be grateful if someone could tell me, including how this is different from street tree planting.]

6.     What plans does Council have to plant trees or other vegetation in urban locations, including new plantings  in pavements or street infrastructure such as roundabouts?  (provide details including locations)

Cavendish Street Enmore: an in-road planting with expanded soil volumes utilizing structural soil systems.  Other tree planting opportunities are explored as part of Infrastructure Capital Design.

[In the Council Meeting of 12th April 2011 Staff said, “We don’t tend to landscape median islands for occupational health & safety concerns for staff.”  It is great to see that this is changing as this opens up so many opportunities to green & soften the landscape.  See – http://bit.ly/10n6oTc ]

7.     Is there a budget allocation this year for the development of the Street Tree Masterplan? (provide details)

There is a budget of $80,000 in 2012/13 & a further $40,000 in 2013/14.

8.     What work has been undergone, to date, to develop the Marrickville Street Tree Master Plan, in line with Council’s Urban Forest Strategy? Does this include the development a brief to engage a consultant to develop the plan, and what is the timeline for such a brief to be completed?

A Brief has been developed, quotation process undertaken & a consultant engaged.  The first meeting of the project control group was on 12 April.  A plan for adoption by Council  is currently expected in March 2014.

9.     What steps have been taken to increase the tree canopy in Marrickville in the 2013 annual tree planting period? (including number of new trees, maintenance of existing trees, selection of particular species for current or projected canopy size).

See above numbers for trees planted.  [Council have planted 71 new trees by 25 June 2013].  Council has not measured the urban forest canopy size or made any specific recommendation about the amount of canopy increase it is seeking.

[This is disappointing.  It is becoming commonplace for Councils to state a target of tree planting & canopy cover by a certain date.  How can we ever know whether the urban forest is actually increasing if targets are not set & measured to see if they have been achieved?   We already know that 47% of the urban forest has been lost.  The Urban Forest Policy says that 42,500 trees had been planted, but the Tree Inventory said there were only 22,608 street trees.  Only half the trees that have been planted have survived. See – http://bit.ly/TfbwnW ]

10.  What is the planned percentage increase for the urban tree canopy this year?

There are currently no systems in place to measure canopy area.

[A quick Google search showed that measuring the canopy percentage is commonplace.  The City of Sydney Council wrote the following in their Urban Forest Strategy  – “To establish the City’s canopy cover, we conducted a GIS-based tree canopy study in 2008, using aerial photography & LiDAR (light detection & ranging) data.”  They assessed the canopy percentage of private property, street trees & parks.  More information can be found in their Urban Forest Strategy – http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/132249/Urban-Forest-Strategy-Adopted-Feb-2013.pdf 

Here is an article about calculating the canopy & leaf area density for those who are interested – http://www.forestry.utoronto.ca/neighbourwoods/web/Canopy%20Cover%20and%20Leaf%20Area%20Density.htm ]

11.  How many native plants have been given away to the community to date in the 2012/13 period?

To the end of May 2012, there have been 1,716 plants freely distributed by the Community Nursery to schools, childcare centres, community oranisations, neighbourhood action groups like Thornley Street Weeds Group & residents redeeming vouchers distributed in Marrickville Matters.  Through Council’s Sustainable Street program there have been 536 plants given away to residents as part of the installation of verge gardens. The combined total is 2,252 plants.

12.  What is the target for native plant giveaways & will Council reach its target this year?

In Council’s 2012/13 operational plan the target is 2,700 plants given away. The target should be reached.

13.  What is the status of Council’s bush pockets in terms of ongoing maintenance?

Parks & Streetscape gardening staff maintain 3 bush pockets sites on a monthly cycle frequency.  The Ruby Street community have been active in planting & weeding the small (unnamed) bush pocket park underneath the remnant fig tree with quarterly working bees.  These are supervised & resourced by Council staff with plants accessed through the community nursery.  Lawn areas are mowed by Council’s streetscapes crew, some reduction in lawn area has recently occurred with new perimeter plantings.

14.  Are the plans for any more bush pockets in the LGA?

The community can nominate suitable areas for bush pockets & these can be assessed partly on the willingness of locals to participate in its long term care. The area on Beauchamp Street adjacent to the golf course may be developed as a bush pocket in the future, but is contingent on funding for weed tree removal (see Biodiversity  Officer for more information).

15.  What is the annual operating budget allocation for maintenance of trees on council lands in the 2012/13 financial year?  Has there been a review of the adequacy of the current allocation? (provide details).

2012/13:  $524,547

2013/14:  $539,234

Street Tree Inventory identified priority tree maintenance works. Additional capital funds provided in 2013/14 draft budget to accelerate high priority removals & replacement.

16.  Can council supply figures on contract tree maintenance or bush regeneration for the 2012-2013 financial year with a break down that shows: tree pruning, tree removal & bush regeneration (including sites).

$30,000 planned expenditure for vegetation at Marrickville Golf Course, Cooks River Foreshore (‘Wave Rock’) in July-August in coordination with National Tree Day.  Other figures not attainable within timeframe given for response.

17.  Has Council progressed any long term training in horticulture, conservation & land management for Council outdoor staff in the 2012.13 period?  (provide details).

Thirteen staff from Parks & Streetscape including Supervisors & Team Leaders successfully completed the Conservation & Land Management Certificate course in 2012.  This 12 month course was provided by the Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE at the depot worksite & included a number of practical workshops at bush pocket sites within Marrickville municipality.  Parks & Streetscape staff have also undertaken formal training in Erosion & Sediment Control. Working Around Trees & Tree Roots, Native Plant Identification, Chemical Handling & Chemical Risk Management.

Marrickville Landcare site – Bush regeneration contract work supplementary to monthly volunteer x 2 months $1,600.

Camperdown Cemetery – Bush regeneration contract work supplementary to monthly volunteer x 2 months $1,600.

Cooks River Valley Garden – Monthly bush regeneration contract work x 12 months – approx $7,000.

18.  Are Council outdoor staff participating in the development of verge gardens and bush pockets & if so, how?

Verge garden & bush pocket establishment & maintanence are the responsibility of a designated Verge Garden crew with support from the garden staff all of which are members to the Parks & Streetscape Section.  Consultation & identification of verge garden sites is undertaken by the Sustainable Streets Officer in Parks & Streetscape.

19.  What plans are there for a National Tree Day Council event in Sunday July 28th or on School National Tree Day on Friday July 26.

National Tree Day: Sunday 28 July 2013 10.30am- 1pm. This years site is at Wave Rock by the Cooks River at Marrickville Golf Course.  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.  Each year up to 1,000 plants are planted and over 50 volunteers are part of the event given.  This site is connected to a larger extension area which will be planted out by contractors & volunteers the week following National Tree Day.

School National Tree Day: Friday 26 July.  Each year the Community Nursery offers free plants to schools & early learning centres for planting either on Schools National Tree Day or another more suitable time during the year.  Each year up to 10 schools take up the offer.

[I find it very disappointing that trees are not planted on National Tree Day.]

20.  Has Council pursued opportunities to increase the urban forest canopy on State Govt & “Not for Profit” organizations land such as churches, schools by establishing contact with relevant land owners for this purpose? (provide details).

To date Council has liaised with 3 schools in the area to encourage proactive tree management & planting.  As part of the current tree planting program Dulwich Hill High School & Camdenville Public School have received mature (45L) tree donations.

21.  What provisions are there in current Council planning instruments to encourage or require private land owners to plant trees &/or plant natives?

Section 2.18 – “Landscaping & Open Spaces” of the Marrickville Development Control Plan 2011 (DCP) specifies Council’s landscaping & open space requirements for development applications.  The chapter outlines how landscaped areas should be designed in a way that minimizes stormwater run-off & improves appearance & amenity of a site through landscape design.  These provisions encourage land owners to use pervious surfaces including the planting of trees.  Compensatory planting requirements are enforced through our LEP & DCP DA & Permit tree removal approvals systems.  In regards to encouraging the use of native species, on page 11 of Section 2.18 Council provides advisory notes that encourage land owners to use native species.  Section 2.18.12 Advisory notes states; Applicants are encourages to: 1.  Use native deciduous trees with large canopies, climbers & shrubs on the northern side of buildings.  Additionally on page 11 of this section, an extensive list of preferred native tree species is provided.  The table outlines the botanical name, common name & where the species is most suitable for planting within the LGA.

22.  Has Council enforced any compensatory planting on private land in relation to where a tree has been removed, & a new planting is required in its place?  (provide details, including how new planting requirements are monitored).

Yes, where appropriate, the removal of a tree on private land will require a compensatory tree planting to be provided.

[A sample was given, which you can read here –  http://bit.ly/19xpI66

I thank Clr Ellsmore for asking these questions.  It’s been a long time since such comprehensive information on this subject was available to the community.

New street tree were planted along both sides of Calvert Street Marrickville in June 2012. Note that none of the trees are taller than the stakes that support them.

New street tree were planted along both sides of Calvert Street Marrickville in June 2012. Note that none of the trees are taller than the stakes that support them.

Planted late 2012 in Dulwich Hill.

Planted late 2012 in Dulwich Hill.

Planted in 2012 in Marrickville

Planted in 2012 in Marrickville

Planted in Tempe. Photo taken in 2012.

Planted in Tempe. Photo taken in 2012.

Planted around 4 years ago in Marrickville.

Planted around 3-years ago in Marrickville.

Planted in Kintore Street Dulwich Hill in 2012

Planted in Kintore Street Dulwich Hill in 2012