Enmore Park, as it is now known, is a well-loved park in our community.   It has a strong local history, as it was the first park to be established in Marrickville LGA, opening in two sections in May 1886 & on October 1893.  The park is heritage-listed & occupies 10-acres (4-hectares).  The stone entrance gates were built in 1937.  An undefined number of Port Jackson Figs are heritage-listed under the Local Environment Plan, which was passed in 2011.  See – http://bit.ly/166sA9d

Marrickville Council has given notice of ‘landscape improvement works for Enmore Park,’ due to start in November 2013. Council says, “The works aim to improve tree management & include mulching of tree zones, tree removal & tree planting.  The project involves the removal & replacement of several high risk & underperforming trees.”

Council has identified 15 trees for removal & the reasons given are as follows –

Tree number 1:  T104 on map – Moreton Bay Fig located next to Llewellyn Street – “Poor condition with major internal decay. Only approximately 20% of canopy is live.”

Marked by the red dot.  Another tree on the left is to be removed as well.

Marked by the red dot. Another tree on the left is to be removed as well.

Not much canopy left, but lots of holes for wildlife.  This tree makes me wonder if the trunk cannot be kept, made safe & made an insitu home for wildlife like microbats & birds that need hollows.  There are so few trees that offer this.

Not a tall tree & not much canopy left, but holes  & crevices for wildlife. This tree makes me wonder if the trunk cannot be kept, made safe & made into an insitu home for wildlife like microbats & birds that need hollows. There are so few trees that offer this in our LGA.

Tree number 2:  T105 on map – Port Jackson Fig located next to Llewellyn Street – “Canopy dieback & poor overall health.  Extensive epicormic growth. (reactive growth from stems).” 

The canopy is very thin.

The canopy is very thin, but would grass removal, pruning, fertilizing, watering & mulching help it to recover?

Tree number 3:  T107 on map – Port Jackson Fig located beside pathway near corner of Enmore Road & Llewellyn Street –  “Severely suppressed by other trees, stunted in growth & poor structure.  Previously lopped & has internal decay.” 

This Fig tree has the most stunning trunk.  It is knobbly all over & stands straight at around 3-metres tall before any branches are found.  My first thought was that if this if the tree could not be saved, then it should not become woodchip.  How often do any of us come across a tree of such an age, historical significance & with such a decorative trunk?

I think it would be relatively easy to keep the trunk & get a local artist to do something creative with it.  If I was doing it, I would randomly remove individual knobs from around the tree & put something of interest inside the hole, then cover with Perspex to keep the hole enclosed & dry.  I could easily imagine involving a school or cultural group to find the items of interest.  It could become a history tree with a story.  There are many public locations across Marrickville LGA where the trunk artwork could be permanently & safely installed.

I will be asking Council to consider saving the trunk for a public artwork.

This tree has a stunning trunk that I think could easily be used for a public artwork if it has to be removed.

This tree has a stunning trunk that I think could easily be used for a public artwork if it has to be removed.  The tree next on the right is also for removal.

Part of the canopy

Part of the canopy.  Many of the Fig trees in Enmore Park have been topped in the past.  Topping has resulted in the type of branch growth you see here.

The trunk looks like this right to where the branches form.

The whole trunk looks like this right to where the branches form.

Tree number 4:  T147 on map – Moreton Bay Fig (under 5-metres) located next to Llewellyn Street – “Suppressed by neighbouring tree. Mechanical damage to trunk.  Stunted in growth & poorly located.”

Squashed in tight.

Squashed in tight.  Never had a chance.

Tree number 5:  T148 on map – Moreton Bay Fig (under 5-metres) located next to Llewellyn Street – “Suppressed by neighbouring tree. Mechanical damage to trunk.  Stunted in growth & poorly located.”

Not doing well.

Not doing well.

Tree number 6:  T148A on map – Moreton Bay Fig (under 5-metres) located next to Llewellyn Street – “Major mechanical damage to surface roots & trunk.  Poor condition & in decline.”

Damage at the base of this tree's trunk.

Damage at the base of this tree’s trunk is easily seen.

Tree number 7:  T218 on map – Port Jackson Fig located on the right side of pathway at the entrance gate corner of Enmore & Victoria Roads.  “Tree has extensive internal decay with an internal cavity that extends to ground level & a subsidence split to a major limb. An independent arborist report recommends removal.  Tree failed a Resistograph inspection.”

The red dot indicates the Fig tree to be removed.

The red dot indicates the Fig tree to be removed.

Part of the canopy

Part of the canopy

The lower trunk & root system.

The lower trunk & root system.

Other side of trunk.

Other side of trunk.

Tree number 8:  T221 on map – Port Jackson Fig located on the left side of pathway at the entrance gate corner of Enmore & Victoria Roads.  “In decline with major dieback & epicormic growth (reactive growth from stems).”

Has a thin canopy

Has a thin canopy. Maybe anothe tree that would benefit from grass removal, pruning, fertiliising & mulching? 

Canopy detail

Canopy detail

Very large trunk

Very large trunk

Tree number 9:  T227 on map – Moreton Bay Fig located beside Enmore Road.  “Tree has extensive internal decay with large internal cavities.   independent arborist report recommends removal.  Tree failed a Resistograph inspection.”  I do not have a photograph of this tree.

Tree number 10:  T235 on map – Moreton Bay Fig (under 5-metres) located beside Victoria Road. “Tree is in poor condition & suppressed by surrounding trees. Mechanical damage to trunk.”

Planted very close to a substantial tree.  Red dot marks the tree up for removal.

Planted very close to a substantial tree. Red dot marks the tree up for removal.

Tree number 11:   T236 on map – Moreton Bay Fig (under 5-metres) located beside Victoria Road. “Tree is in poor condition & suppressed by surrounding trees. Mechanical damage to trunk.”

Red dot marks the tree up for removal.

Red dot marks the tree up for removal. You can see the damage to the bottom of the trunk.

Tree number 12:  T300 on map – Pyrus sp. (under 5-metres).  “Poor quality stock, mechanical damage & not performing.”  See image below.

Tree number 13:  T301 on map – Pyrus sp. (under 5-metres).  “Poor quality stock, mechanical damage & not performing.”  See image below.

Tree number 14:  T302 on map – Pyrus sp. (under 5-metres).  “Poor quality stock, mechanical damage & not performing.”  Interestingly, there is another of these trees that looks the same & which has not been included for removal.

All three Pyrus sp. looked like this one. All are about 180 cms tall & all are in flower.

All three Pyrus sp. looked like this one. All are about 2-metres or less & all are in flower.

Tree number 15:  T303 on map – Port Jackson Fig (under 5-metres).  “Poor quality stock with root ball defect. Suppressed by neighbouring tree.”   I did not take a photo of this tree.  It looks like the others up for removal along here than are under 5-metres.

A total of 6 trees up for removal are big old Fig trees.  The rest are all sickly & under 5-metres.

Questions immediately come to mind –

  • Why did Council purchase poor quality stock?
  • Why did Council plant trees really close to each other with the outcome that other trees suppress their growth?  Even I could see that trees had been planted on top of each other & that there was no room for them to grow a canopy without competition.  Same for their roots.
  • Why are so many trees affected by mechanical damage?  It is not difficult to find trees that have whipper-snipper or mower damage around the base of their trunk throughout Enmore Park.
  • Independent Arborist’s Reports were only mentioned for two of the trees to be removed.  Six of these trees are old & have historic value to Enmore Park & the community.  Was an Arborist’s Report done for all of these more significant trees?

Council do not even say what species of tree would be planted where in the park, though they have marked the places where new trees will be planted on their map.  All, but two, are located along pathways.   I sometimes wonder whether design in Enmore Park aims to accommodate crowd volumes during the Australia Day event.    It is a hot park & most shade is only to be found around the edges next to the street traffic, or, along the pathways next to the foot traffic.

The six older Fig trees have enormous value to the community.  We have already lost 31 trees to make room for the pool construction.  I am told many of them were old Figs.  Another large Fig tree was removed in 2010, as well as a Tulip tree in 2011 & a massive Brushbox in 2013.

If none of these trees are saved, this would be a total of 49 trees removed from Enmore park within the last 3.5-years.   That is an awful lot of trees.  Council said that 34 trees were planted around the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre when it was completed, but it took me ages to realize 23 of these were actually a Lilly Pilly hedge.

Marrickville Council says they will replace the removed trees with the following species –

  • Port Jackson Fig (Fifcus rubiginose) x 3 trees.
  • Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) x 2 trees.
  • Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) x 2 trees – Deciduous tree native to North America & the extreme south of Ontario in Canada.
  • Smooth-bark Kauri (Agathis robusta) x 3 trees – Evergreen coniferous tree native to eastern Queensland & one of the largest trees in the world.   This tree grows straight & tall to a height of 30-50 metres.  While very slow growing, it can eventually grow a massive girth, so it will be interesting to see where in the park Council plans to plant these trees.  Hopefully not somewhere where people will be complaining about falling cones. I am very pleased that Council have planned for large landmark trees that will be one day visible from many parts of the LGA.
  • Chinese Elm (Ulmus Parvifolia ‘Todd’) x 3 trees – Small to medium semi-deciduous tree native to China, Japan, North Korea & Vietnam.  Listed as a weed by the Sydney Weeds Committee.
  • Black Booyong (Argyrodendron actinophyllum) x 2 trees– Stunning large rainforest tree native to eastern Australia.
  • Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimisifolia) x 1 tree – Native to South America, but planted all over the world because of its purple/blue flowers in spring & early summer.  They can be grown from cuttings or seeds & readily spread. Listed as a weed tree by the Sydney Weeds Committee.

I would like Council to –

  1. Consider employing an Arborist who is a specialist in veteran trees to see if there is anything that can be done to save any of the older Fig trees.   Many other Councils in Sydney do whatever they can to retain their old trees because of their value.   I can think of a massive Fig in Scotts Park in Sandringham as an example.  The tree has extensive rot.  Rockdale Council filled the cavity with concrete, probably to prevent it being set on fire & planted a replacement nearby.  Judging by the height of the replacement tree, it was planted around 15-20 years ago.  The Fig tree with concrete is very healthy & looks to be around for a long time yet.  Even though concrete is not used these days, this intervention allowed a beautiful & important tree to be retained.  I can’t help but wonder whether, with the advice of a specialist, if any of our important trees could also be saved.  Even one saved would be worth it.
  2. Consider using the trunk of tree 107 as a public artwork for the municipality if the tree is removed.
  3. Consider making the trunk of tree 104 habitat for hole-dependent wildlife.

I have included two images of Council’s map of Enmore Park below showing the trees for removal & the replacements trees.  You can download your own copy here  –http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/marrwr/_assets/main/lib65091/community%20consultation%20plan.pdf

I thank Council for using sticky pape to fix the signs to the trees.  Any comments or submissions email to – council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au asap, but certainly by the end of October.    I will be putting in a submission.  If you do send in a submission, I would appreciate it if you would c.c. to all the Marrickville Councillors.  Thank you, Jacqueline.

Marrickville Council's map of tree removal & replacement in Enmore Park.  Red Xs mean removal.  Green circles means new trees.

Marrickville Council’s map of tree removal & replacement in Enmore Park. Red Xs mean removal. Green circles means new trees.

Map of tree removals & replacements in Enmore Park

Map 2  of tree removals & replacements in Enmore Park

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