Marrickville Council has given notice that they intend to remove an unspecified number of trees from Mahoney Reserve on the river at Marrickville South. I counted 23 trees to be removed, however, I could have missed a tree or two because the only information Council provided is orange dots on a downloadable map.
None of the trees in the park have Notification of Removal signs on them, so it is highly likely that most of the community will not be aware of the tree removal until after it happens.
If 23 trees is correct, then Council is planting only 8 trees to replace this loss. I don’t know how our urban forest will ever expand given this negative ratio of removal & replacement. This park has plenty of room for more trees.
I am not surprised that so many trees are to be removed. I first wrote about the trees of Mahoney Reserve back in January 2011. See – http://bit.ly/1cOo9B6. Even then I could tell that the trees in this park were in trouble. Evidence of boring insects was visible for a phenomenal number of trees.
I wrote, “One by one we looked at the trees along the Wharf Road side of Mahoney Reserve. It was difficult to find a tree that wasn’t showing borer holes & rot. Many had ant infestations as well.”
The Marrickville section of the Cooks River is notable because someone in Council had the foresight to plant Poplars around 40-45 years ago. I think the trees are Populus deltoids (Cottonwood), but don’t quote me. These trees are well suited to riparian zones & although not native, provide food & habitat for a wide range of wildlife. Their roots prevent bank erosion & clean contaminated soil, groundwater & stormwater. They are great for windbreaks too, making them a sensible choice along the river, which can get very windy.
The Poplar trees along the Cooks River in Marrickville are much-loved by the community because of their significant beauty, their seasonal interaction with the environment & their sheer size. We really do not have many trees around with huge girths & of such height.
Their leaves also sound fabulous when there is a breeze & provide a great crunch under foot when they have fallen. They also provide a wonderful dappled shade in Steel Park, allowing people to sit almost anywhere out of the sun, instead of huddling near a tree trunk. These are also landmark trees, as they are visible from many areas on both sides of the river.
Six mature Poplars were removed from Mahoney Reserve in late 2010. I was told it was because they died. I suspect their death was due to boring insects, as there was ample evidence of attack on their trunks. Council chopped back their branches & left the trunks in situ for habitat, but later they were deemed dangerous & removed in 2012. These six trees were part of an impressive avenue of 21 Poplars in Mahoney Reserve. They were approximately 22-26 metres tall.
In this round of tree removal, six more mature Poplars are to be removed. This will leave only six Poplars along the river & three along Illawarra Road side of the park of the original 21 trees.
Marrickville Council’s Recreation Study indicated that they would like to install synthetic turf in Mahoney Reserve. My bet is the annual leaf drop of these trees will not be appreciated, so I expect these other trees will be removed in the coming years & as with the current Poplars, will not be replaced with Poplars. This is a shame in my opinion.
The eight replacement trees to be planted are –
- 1 x Lillypilly (Syzygium smithii formerly Acmena smithii)
- 1 x Bangalay (Eucalyptus botryoides)
- 1 x Red Mahogany (Eucalyptus resinifera)
- 1 x Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta)
- 1 x Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna)
- 1 x Forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis)
- 1 x Snow in Summer (Melaleuca linariifolia)
- 1 x Prickly paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides). These seven species will be planted in a line where the current Poplar trees are. Gaps will be left where the other trees are removed.
- 1 x Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) – to be planted at the corner of Wharf & Illawarra Roads. I am pleased that this will be a feature tree. One day it should look wonderful.
Two mature trees near the toilet block on Wharf Road will be pruned to install stag ferns. Around 75 other trees will have “canopy maintenance pruning.” They need it.
I am glad Marrickville Council is doing work for the trees in this park, but feel sad that the Poplars will not be replaced. In my opinion, these trees have many positive benefits & are iconic to the river at Marrickville. There is plenty of room to plant the other eight trees, as well as replace the Poplars. There is so much visual change happening in Marrickville. It would be nice to have something beautiful offer continuity.
I did find a microbat box high in a tree, which was nice.
You can access the map of works here – https://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/Global/Environment/In%20your%20community/Tree%20management/H%20J%20Mahony%20Reserve_Mahoney%20Reserve%20Tree%20Management%20Plan.pdf
Submissions are due by Friday 30th May 2014.
Lastly, I have tried to put the photos of the trees to be removed in an anti-clockwise order around the park starting at the left of the clubhouse & finishing near the bus stop on Illawarra Road. Two of the trees to be rmeoved are missing from the photos.