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The following was posted to my Facebook page this afternoon –

“All that’s left is a pink stump.  Yesterday there was a tree, never had sign of pending removal. Taken on the Boulevarde Dulwich Hill.”  

So there you are.  Another public tree bites the dust.  I wonder what was wrong with this one?

Who removed it?  If Marrickville Council did, why wasn’t there any notification of tree removal according to their policy?

Street tree removal in The Boulevarde Dulwich Hill. Photo by Glenda with thanks.

Tree number 1:

Almost gone so I couldn’t get a photo of the fruiting bodies

Marrickville Council has given notice of an urgent tree removal – 1 Wallangarra White Gum (Eucalyptus scoparia) outside 21 MacArthur Parade, Dulwich Hill.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree assessment has identified severe stem decay with associated fungal fruiting bodies between branch unions at 5 metres above ground. This presents an unacceptable hazard to the public & property.
  • As a result of the hazardous nature of this tree, priority removal works is being scheduled.”

Council say they intend to plant a replacement Wallangarra White Gum (Eucalyptus scoparia) in the 2012-2013 annual tree planting program.

Trees number 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9:

Council has given notice that they intend to remove 4 × Golden Robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia “Frisia”) & 4 × Tulipwood (Harpullia pendula) at the Dulwich Hill Shopping strip in Marrickville Road Dulwich Hill.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “they are under-performing & in poor overall condition;
  • improvement works to the streetscape will establish a consistent avenue of tree species to increase the landscape amenity value of the area; &
  • 2 trees located adjacent to pedestrian crossings are required to be removed to improve pedestrian safety.”

I have no idea why the street trees beside the pedestrian crossings need to be removed & how this would improve pedestrian safety.  All the research I have read says that street trees calm traffic & slow cars down.

The trees will be removed within 2-4 weeks.  Council says they will replace these 8 trees with 7 × super advanced trees immediately following the tree removal works.  It’s a shame they can’t match 8 for 8.

I think this is a great decision to replace these trees as they look awful & are definitely underperforming.  Much of the streetscape along the Dulwich Hill shopping strip on Marrickville Road looks great with tallish green leafy trees & landscaping.

Two of the street trees in Dulwich Hill shopping strip will be removed to improve pedestrian safety.

The trees & landscaping at the corner of Marrickville Road & Seaview Street looks great. Hopefully, Council can create this leafy look throughout the whole shopping strip.

The 2 Sydney Blue Gums to be removed are on the left of this photo. Beside them on the right are tall London Plane trees, other mature trees in Arlington Oval & the park next door. The removal of these trees is going to have a significant impact on both Arlington Oval & the locality of Dulwich Hill

Marrickville Council intends to remove 2 trees from Arlington Sports Ground, Dulwich Hill.

Tree number 1 is a Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna).  Last April 2011 Council put up a notice of removal for this tree & had a public consultation period.  I have already written a post about this tree.  See –

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Major structural defects have compromised structural integrity of subject tree in a high volume area; as such the tree poses an unacceptable risk to private property, infrastructure & to the public.”

Council says they will replace the tree with “species according to the Plan of Management.”  They don’t say what the Plan of Management is, when the replacement tree will be planted & their web link given for further information did not work at the time of writing.

The notification of removal was posted on 7th June 2011 & any submissions are due by this Friday 10th June 2011.   As stated in my earlier post, I will not be putting in a submission for this tree.

Tree number 2 is also a Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna).  It is located directly next to the tree above.  Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Subject tree has a history of multiple branch failures. As such, the subject tree in its current condition presents an unacceptable risk of harm or injury to persons & property.”

As per tree number 1, Council says they will replace the tree with “species according to the Plan Of management.”  They don’t say what the Plan of Management is, when the replacement tree will be planted & their web link given for further information did not work at the time of writing.

Submissions for this tree are due by Monday 20th June 2011.

Showing the location of the 2 trees. A car can park in the foreground of this photo. The area in front of the trees is fenced off. Tree number 2 is away from the spectator seating.

These 2 Sydney Blue Gums stand with one other Sydney Blue Gum in a row located at the side of Arlington Oval, well away from users of the oval.  I have seen a car parked in the tight space next to tree number 1 & this habit is likely to be responsible for the injury that created access for disease in the first place.

Tree number 2 has 3 branches that appear to be been pruned close to the trunk.  I presume these are the branches that fell.  Thankfully, there appears to be nothing wrong with the third tree.

It will be a huge impact both to Arlington Oval & the local area to lose these 2 trees, as they are much higher than the surrounding trees in the locality.  They are also exceptionally beautiful.

I have some qualms about removing tree number 2.  It’s an awful lot of loss for an if.  It is a healthy tree & in a location that people don’t really go.  It’s a dead zone in Arlington Oval cordoned off by a low fence. It would be interesting to know over what period of time the branches fell, as this would indicate whether a plan of management could be instigated for this tree.  I personally think an annual inspection of this tree would be worth it.  Many Sydney Councils do routine inspections of their trees & prune where

Council has gone to some trouble to make sure the community knows of the removal of these trees by leaving many signs in highly visible places.

necessary.  This gives them a much greater chance of identifying risky branches & their proactive management means that ultimately more trees can be retained.  Marrickville Council has no pruning/inspection routine & their tree policy says they do only reactive management of trees, that is, when a problem has developed.

I know that Waverley Council has fenced a tree in a park that drops branches allowing them to retain the tree.

I will be putting in a submission asking Marrickville Council  to manage this healthy tree by doing regular inspections, pruning when necessary, fencing it off from the public & putting up a warning sign.  This is in line with what other Councils do.

Marrickville Council –

Showing the trees to be removed. Tree number 1 has 2 trunks.

Marrickville Council intend to remove a Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) from outside 8 Ross Street, Dulwich Hill.

Council gives the following reasons for removal:

  • “The subject tree has a repeat history of large branch failure & there remains the possibility that the tree may further shed branches in the future.
  • The subject tree in its current condition presents an unacceptable risk of harm or injury to persons & property.”

Council say they will replace this Spotted gum with another Spotted gum, but not when they will do this.    The weblink for further information did not work at the time of writing (error 404).

There is evidence of 5 branches coming off this tree.  The remaining parts of the branches are jagged & the tree looks injured.   I haven’t seen branch loss looking like this before, but this isn’t surprising.  The tree looks to be in good health. It’s one of 2 tall trees in the street & has a girth of around 1.8 – 2 metres.

I think there are a number of issues here.  My research came up with a report written in 2003 by Hornsby Council who refused an application to remove a 18-metre Spotted gum street tree that was dropping branches into the front garden of a property because the tree was healthy.  Hornsby Council refused to remove the tree even though they knew they could be liable, especially if property damage occurred in the near future.   See –

This is the Spotted gum up for removal

What I did find out was that Spotted gums are self pruning (meaning they drop branches as a natural characteristic) & have lighter branches than other species of Corymbia.  They are often deemed as suitable for use as street trees & have a life expectancy over 40 years.  Now I love my Gums, but I would ask – why are they deemed suitable if they are known for dropping branches?  Marrickvlle Council is using a Spotted gum to replace this one once they chop it down.

The technical name is limb shear & the branches of this particular tree certainly looked sheared.  It looks like a rope has been slung over the branch & pulled until the branch tore away from the trunk.  Shear is a good description.

Apparently there are a number of causes of limb shear & no single cause. Limb shear can happen as part of the behaviour of certain species, including the Spotted gum & because of drought or compaction of the soil.  An arborist can check limbs regularly to look for obvious weakness showing in the branch & prune to prevent the limb falling.  Problem is Marrickville Council doesn’t prune street trees, they chop them down when branches fall.

Yesterday I learnt that Leichhardt Council checks every single one of their public trees every 2 years & prunes as needed.  Their Urban Forest Policy says the removal of a public tree is the last option.

Most of the Council’s around Sydney have thousands more Eucalypts & Corymbia’s as street trees than does Marrickville LGA.  A quick Google search choosing Councils at random, showed me that Ryde, Hornsby, Newcastle, Randwick & City of Sydney all prune street trees.  This was enough for me to show that pruning is considered a norm.

I would prefer that Parks & Gardens were given sufficient money in the budget to allow them to establish a regular tree maintenance program & prune street trees to bring Marrickville Council up to the standard of other Councils.  Perhaps then, many more trees could be caught before they become dangerous to allow the canopy to remain. The cycle of chopping a tree down once it has reached a good height means we will never really have tall trees or increase the canopy beyond small stature trees.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 27th May 2011.  I will not be putting in a submission.

Showing where 3 branches have broken off

This Tibouchina brings so much beautiful colour to a main thoroughfare in Dulwich Hill

Even the flowers planted around the front fence coordinate with the tree. I think the whole effect is stunning

These beautiful verges were created & are looked after by the community

Grevillea hedge at the Sugar Factory at Dulwich Hill. It looks fantastic, requires little maintenance & provides food & habitat for a wide range of wildlife

Down along the Cooks River - Marrickville side

Dulwich Hill & Marrickville got a mention in an article about conservation in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently Echidnas live here.  Earthwatch Institute & Landcare has launched a new research program & they are asking the community to let them know of minute changes to their local environment. You can log on & let them know of new birds, new insects, less birds & insects, earlier flowering seasons &  what kind of animals/birds live in you area.

Just in my area over the last 12 months has seen the arrival of a Spotted Pardalote, a baby Ring-tail Possum, a huge increase in birds & a bunch of Wedge-tail Eagles flying overhead.  We have discovered the Bandicoots living in Lewisham, although WIRES already knew about them. Kookaburras are living in Lewisham trees that are fast been chopped down.

There must be things happening in your area. If we report it, then we have a greater chance of saving its habitat should the need arise.

Earthwatch –

Landcare –

Beautiful Wolli Creek also gets a main article on page 12 of today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Wolli Creek Valley is 50 hectares of natural bush along 13 kms from Bexley North to Turella & is the only bushland of any size left in the inner south-west Sydney. More than 260 plants have been identified in the Wolli Creek Valley & it is the home to many birds, animals, insects, flying- foxes, fish & frogs. It is very precious & a vital space for urban wildlife.

In 1998 the NSW state government of Bob Carr announced the prospective establishment of a Wolli Creek Regional Park under the management of National Parks & Wildlife Service. The Wolli Creek Regional Park remains nothing more than a promise almost 12 years later.

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society has an online petition as part of their campaign to have the Wolli Creek Regional Park established. It takes 1 minute to do something that will help keep a precious piece of historical bushland for future generations & for urban wildlife. Please sign.

To read the SMH article –

An area planted over the 2-3 years at The Warren

Another tree lost from the St Vincent's de Paul complex at Lewisham - photo taken by Brigette - thanks

1. It’s with sadness I report another tree has gone from the St Vincent de Paul complex at Lewisham.  This time one of the lovely Eucalypts has been removed from the front of The Rectory in Thomas Street.  I was told recently that they intend to remove all the Eucalypts in the complex because of dropping branches, which is a crying shame because they all have 2-3 metre plus girths so they will be doing a terrific job at sequestering CO2.

All the Eucalypts are straight growing & as far as I can tell, don’t pose a threat to nearby buildings.  Most importantly, they support local wildlife.  I witnessed a family of Kookaburras perched in one & was told many birds have made these trees their home.

I don’t understand why a dying branch can’t be pruned.  Chopping the whole tree down seems to be overkill.  Oh well, less loveliness in the area & more cement.

The locals are extremely unhappy about the removal of this tree & some cried while they watched it being chopped down.  I can relate as I could not bear to watch the Stanmore Gum be removed last month as I knew it would be too upsetting.

2. Marrickville Council’s web-site has 2 street trees up for removal.  The first in Dixon Street Dulwich Hill is an old Eucalypt.  It’s a lovely tree, but it is riddled with borers & if left, will most definitely fall down.  I’d guess it to be of the stock that was planted in the early 70s.

This Dixon Street Eucalypt in Dulwich Hill is riddled with borers

The second tree is in Belmore Street Enmore.  This tree also has significant & obvious problems.  If left, it is likely to drop at least one branch soon.  Pruning will not help it as it has deep rot high up in its branches & in parts of its trunk.

Remember this post, because I have agreed 2 trees should be removed.

2 other trees up for removal are in Ivanhoe Street Marrickville.  They both have signs on them, but there is no mention of them on Council’s web-site.  Why?  How many other street trees go this way without notification on Council’s web-site?

3. The Cumberland Courier reported that Ryde City Council has just received a government grant of $97,566 to help protect fauna.  This is great news for the significant wildlife corridors between the Lane Cove & Parramatta Rivers.

4.  Another Cumberland Courier news item reported that Liverpool Council is calling for suggestions for sites where they should undertake bush regeneration.  This will be funded by their environment levy.  Liverpool Mayor Waller said they have “funded some 30 bush regeneration projects…planted 147,757 trees & restored about 12.4km of creek line.”  Not bad!  This is a significant amount of tree planting & will be of major benefit as the years pass & the trees grow.

5. The Cumberland Courier reported that Hornsby Council has a problem.  Local heritage Bunya trees dropped a 7kg nut through a roof of a resident’s house.  They will debate whether to pay for the seasonal removal of the Bunya nuts or chop the trees down.

I know which option I would choose.  How many Bunya trees are there in Sydney?  A day’s work (maximum) removing the nuts & the community gets to keep important & beautiful trees.  Has Hornsby Council ever thought of asking the local Aboriginal people if they would like the nuts?  I understand they taste wonderful & are prized bush tucker.

6. The Herald Scotland reported fantastic news that gained international attention & applause. The Scottish Government’s Scotland Rural Development Program has given a grant of 1 million pounds to create 600 acres of new native woodland & 193 acres of productive conifer woodland.  The area is the size of 323 international rugby pitches & will be planted out with 450,000 trees that are expected to sequester around 130,000 tonnes of CO2 over 50 years.   Interesting also is that Scotland is aiming to become zero carbon producers.

7. The UN’s Billion Tree Campaign released its achievements saying that, by the end of 2009, participants in 170 countries had planted 7.4 billion trees (not a typo) This gives me hope for the future.

8. Residents in Pittsfield Township, Ann Arbor USA came out & stopped the power company ITC Holdings Corp from chopping down several 25 year old trees which were within 10 metres of power lines.  The residents sought & were granted a restraining order against the company until a court hearing on 24 February 2010. Interesting reading & commendable commitment from residents.

9. A letter was published in the Pub Beaufort Island Gazette, Hilton Head Island USA refuting the local airport’s stance that they need to chop down 1,400 trees on airport property & another 983 trees on private property supposedly for safety of planes.  However, removing these trees will seriously affect noise control & the area is a Bald Eagle habitat amongst other issues. p

this street tree in Belmore St Enmore is diseased

10. If we lived in Portland Oregon, we would have the opportunity to be involved in their City-Wide Tree Project, which is deciding on regulations for trees to complement their urban forestry plan.  Portland is making the news a lot recently because they have officially recognised the benefits of street trees & have recently proven that property values increase significantly when there is a healthy street tree out front.  They calculate the benefit of a street tree at US$7,000 citing this is the cost of a new bathroom.  Try seeing what you get for that kind of money here!  House prices in Portland are also significantly cheaper than in Sydney.

Portland plans to increase their tree canopy by 50,000 street trees & 33,000 garden trees by 2015 (again, not a typo) to improve the lives of citizens & wildlife as well as help combat the effects of global warming.  This is quite different form the recent recommendation in a Marrickville Council report to councillors to remove 1,000 street trees a year for the next 5 years. The report  did propose to replace them with saplings, but how beneficial this will be is questionable as it says most do not survive.

11. To end, Thornlie (Perth) man Richard Pennicuik is still sitting up in the street tree out front of his house after commencing his protest on 5th December 09 to stop Gosling Council from removing the street trees.  Judging by comments on internet-based reports about him, views about his protest are polarized.  Some think he is a hero.  Others are filled with hatred toward him.  Strange that people would be so abusive toward someone they don’t know & whose actions have zilch effect on them.  Me, I admire him & wish him success.

1. Marrickville Councillors will be voting on a DA soon which will see the demolition of 2 houses built in the 1920’s at 34-36 Piggott St Dulwich Hill, the conversion of the original area manor house built in the early 1880’s as well as the loss of 15 mature trees to build a 3 & 4 storeys development overlooking Hoskins Park.  The local community is rallying to prevent this development. They believe the DA has many negative impacts on the community as well as destroying a green corridor & the green outlook of Hoskins Park.  It is DA 201000022 & can be accessed via Council’s web-site.

2. The Manly Daily reported last week that Warringah Council removed a much-loved palm tree planted on the verge in Forestville without consulting the community. Interestingly, a cross was spray-painted on the tree’s trunk a few days before it

What is the purpose of these symbols?

was chopped down.  I note similar strange rune-like markings sprayed on a couple of the Hills Figs in Carrington Road Marrickville South.  Were these put there by Council?  Are Marrickville Council intending to remove these trees?  I seem to remember 1 Fig tree was agreed to be removed for the new development which has recently commenced.

3. I wrote in the post Tempe Wetlands protest & trees at risk in Tempe that I would try to get further information about the mature trees at risk at the State Rail land in Edgar Street Tempe.  Kerry, a local resident kindly left a comment (see comment roll) saying “I believe they (the trees) are under threat by the 27 townhouse development going in on the land next to the railway line.  An underground car park & water tank retention system is to be built along the boundary line with the railway.  At no stage have these trees been mentioned by the DA or State Rail or Marrickville Council’s tree officer.”

4. Sydney is getting it’s own 5.8 hectare Central Park at the old Carlton & United Brewery site at Broadway. This is a huge boon for the community on may levels & for Sydney’s urban wildlife.–thats-sydney-not-manhattan-20100209-notw.html

5. A little old as it was published last November.  Hornsby Council intends to plant tree-lined boulevards with a councilor suggesting council create ‘immediate’ boulevards by planting trees which are already 4-5 metres tall.  Wonderful if it happens & maybe cost effective considering the high loss of saplings Hornsby Council also experience.

new street trees - hanging baskets & planter box

6.  City of Sydney Council recently planted numerous young trees along Glebe Point Road & some side streets.  They used a porous hard substance to cover larger than average planting holes.  The new street tree planting resulted in instant & significant greening of this already green street.  Because of their size, I doubt they will be vandalized.  It looks terrific.

7. The Star Tribune reported that a woman in Eden Prairie USA took to a tree service worker with a shot-gun to stop him chopping down a tree.  We should never have this kind of action here.

8. The Home Owners Association in San Diego California will chop down in excess of 200 mature Eucalypts because 1 fell on a house recently. The residents are campaigning to prevent the removal of the trees saying they are prepared to live with the risk.  You can read the story & watch a video which is an interesting look at their urban environment.

9. World Forestry day is coming up on 21 March 2010.   Many countries plant thousands of trees on this day.  I don’t know as yet whether our Council is participating. The NSW Department of Industry & Investment has a range of activities planned –

10. Lastly, the NSW Department of Climate Change & Water has a great resource about threatened species which may be of interest to those of you are concerned about the Bandicoots at Lewisham. &

The Marrickville Council Tree Strategy Issues Paper was up for voting last night & what a doozey of a meeting it turned out to be.  It’s clear there are very strong & opposing views about public trees & the community cannot afford to be uninvolved when our turn comes to contribute.

Some good news before I report on this.  Council unanimously & with much enthusiasm voted in favour of the creation of a new community garden in Denison Street Dulwich Hill.  3 residents spoke in favour of setting up a community garden citing the many benefits it will provide to the community. Council then went on to say that any resident can apply to have a community garden set up in any council owned disused space or reserve in the municipality.  There is mention of this on council’s web-site.

Now back to the Trees Strategy Issues Paper (TSIP).  3 residents addressed the meeting.  While each speech addressed different issues, all of us were against the recommendation to remove 1,000 trees per year for the next 5 years.  Although the TSIP says Council intends to plant replacement trees, their own report states a significant percentage of new tree plantings fail.  Since 1972 Marrickville LGA has planted approximately 42,500 street trees.  Today we have 20,000 street trees.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Other points raised that I recall were:

  • Essential that the councillors themselves be knowledgeable about the value & benefits of public trees & tree management before voting to remove 59% of trees within Marrickville LGA.
  • The need for education, communication & consultation with the community about trees.
  • Climate change, the heat island effect, the benefits of trees, the value of mature trees, strategies to look after trees to retain them, history & continuity that mature trees bring, the streetscape & character of Marrickville LGA, supporting increasing the tree canopy, better choice & placement of street trees & the need to care for this significant asset.
  • The recommendation not to establish a Significant Tree Register was also very disappointing, as was the lack of a Tree Inventory.  It is essential the Council knew what its only appreciating asset was & an inventory would serve to keep a record of our history even if trees were removed.
  • The good points were acknowledged as was the work staff had done to prepare the TSIP.

With 3 minutes & a maximum of 6, all 3 of us felt pressed to cover everything needed in this time-frame.  You should try it at least once in your life.  Speaking at Council is much harder than I expected it to be.  You can read my speech here – Speech-MC-9_2_10

Clr Thanos seemed to take affront at the residents’ speeches saying that he was proud of Marrickville, proud of the tree planting that has happened, speaking at length about how we had misunderstood the TSIP.   Well, all 3 of us read it, the Greens understood the same message, as did Labor’s Clr O’Sullivan.  He also said we were using the issue of trees to pursue our own agenda.  For me this was true.  I am trying to save public trees inappropriately earmarked for removal, yet somehow he made my motivation sound like I was scum & he did this from the safety of ‘privilege.’

Clr Thanos needs to understand it is poor form to criticise residents after they have addressed Council suggesting they have no pride in their community & somehow want to take it down.

I will speak for myself, but I know the other speakers were taken aback with his comments.  I also know they care deeply about this issue & have spent a great deal of their leisure time over the years working to help improve this locality.

Melaleucas targeted by TSIP

Deciding to follow what is happening at Council, find documents on Council’s packed web-site, download documents that are often large, read & analyse them, devote time to preparing a speech, spending the evening at Council, the nerves associated with this & putting opinions out in the public arena, are not small things.  Public speaking is classified as the number 1 biggest fear people have, so I ask, why would we do all these things if we didn’t have pride in our LGA & if we weren’t trying to help bring improvements for the community?

Clr Thanos debated & debated.  Clr O’Sullivan added some valid points in an amendment.  She spoke of how she finds herself clinging to shade when she walks in her area because of the heat island effect.  She also spoke about how climate change has become a significant issue & that there have been advancements in tree care & approaches to public trees since this report was last submitted in 2007.  She cited other Councils & suggested that experts be brought in to educate about current trends.

Eucalypts targeted as well

Clr Hanna reasonably suggested that residents be consulted about what tree species to plant outside their houses & said if they had a choice in the matter they would more likely care for the tree.

The Greens spoke about their tree policy, done with consultation with some members of the community, but this was lost in the ensuing melee, which was again disappointing.  Clr Peters reminded us that it has been 17 years since Council has reviewed its Tree Policy saying this current TSIP was not productive.  Clr Olive & other members of the Greens tried many times to discuss certain points of the TSIP, but this was stopped by Clr Thanos with Clr Tsardoulias in the Chair ordering the Greens to stop for points of order.

The Greens suggested their amendment & Clr O’Sullivan’s amendment were really saying the same thing.  Eventually, this was passed.  1,000 trees get to live for another 6 months while a working party of councillors work on this TSIP.

It was unpleasant to be in the Gallery due to obstructionism from Clr Thanos & Clr Tsardoulias.  I gather this is accepted as the culture of this kind of workplace.  Just last week a Strathfield Council made the news due to a Councillor arguing with residents in the Gallery.  Eventually, this argument was continued out in the street. To read the Inner West Courier article –



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