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The lovely Fig in Richardson Reserve Marrickville South. 

Happy Christmas.    I hope you are having a nice day with no worries.

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People gathered hear talks about the project under the beautiful fig tree that was saved from death by brackish water & erosion.

People gathered hear talks about the project under the beautiful fig tree that was saved from death by brackish water & erosion.

Here is a 2014 photo of the same tree showing the erosion and exposed roots.

Here is a photo I took in 2014 of the same tree showing the erosion and exposed roots.

Looking at the saved Fig tree, the habitat area and up the Alexandra Canal

Looking at the saved Fig tree, the habitat area and up the Alexandra Canal from the lookout area.  On the far right is a great model that shows how stormwater travels along hard surfaces.  

A close-up of the restored bank. Plants have been placed in slots and below the current tide line, intertidal block pools have been created.  These all offer habitat for a range of creatures.

A close-up of the restored bank. Plants have been placed in slots and below the current tide line, intertidal block pools have been created. These all offer habitat for a range of creatures.  The sandstone blocks have been left in the river to continue their work offering habitat.

This morning I went to the Community Open Day celebrating the newly upgraded Alexandra Canal & other works beside Tempe Recreation Reserve.

The event was opened by an indigenous man who said the area was near enough to the meeting point of three indigenous tribes.  After a short speech about the Cooks River, he welcomed us to Country.

Then representatives from Sydney Water & the contractor Total Earth Care each gave short talks explaining what they had done with the river bank.  They appeared very happy with the outcome & so they should be.  It looks excellent.

I asked how long the work on the banks should last & was told it will see us all out.  I think it is wonderful that this restoration work will be long-lasting.  I am used to seeing work all around the place last a decade if that.

I had other commitments, so was not able to stay for the full program.  Unfortunately, I missed what promised to be a very interesting talk about the indigenous history of the area, plus actual exhibits.  I also missed a talk & showing of a variety of animals & insects that Taronga Zoo brought to the park, though I did get to see a gorgeous echidna before their talk.  It was very windy, so the echidna wanted to burrow in hay & get out of the wind, but I was lucky enough to get a photo of him.

So what is the restoration like & why all the fuss about a river/canal bank?  Firstly, the lovely & significant Fig tree that was badly affected by erosion & had many roots submerged in brackish water every time the tide came in is now sitting pretty in thickly mulched soil as it should be.  It is now one happy tree.

Had the erosion continued, it is highly likely we would have lost this tree.  It has a beautiful bowl-shaped canopy that reaches all the way to the ground – something we don’t see much in this area anymore.

The area between this tree & another large old fig tree on the point has been made into a garden habitat area & lookout with signage that explains the work done, the ecological significance & also the history of this area.   I think the signage is excellent, as it may change the culture of many who use this park by encouraging them to respect the park & the river.

I’ve noticed minimal vandalism & littering at Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland & also the bank restoration work in the same area – both major restoration works by Sydney Water.  People read the signage & learn how important to the river & the wildlife this work is.   The outcome has been negligible rubbish left behind & signs, structures, seating & re-vegetated areas have been mostly left alone & not destroyed or graffitied.  I hope the same level of respect happens here in Tempe Recreation Reserve.

From the lookout area you can see right along the curve of the bank with all the new sandstone & slots that hold plants.  It looks fabulous.

I had a chat with the contractor & was told that they used 1,742 slabs of sandstone to complete the work.  Each slab was hand-cut into eight pieces.  These were then laid to form the wall.  Each slot in the wall was also hand-cut.  To me this is a significant feat.   Some of the slots create intertidal block pools – places for small fish, seaweeds, snails, shellfish & small crabs to live.  Block pools have also been created above the tideline to cater for any future sea level rise.

When you look at the wall, each slab has its own unique markings.  It’s quite attractive. The slope of the wall also allows birds to perch safely away from people.  Crabs will benefit too.

The work is much more than saving a significant tree, restoring the bank & building a lookout area.  Sydney Water has done re-vegetation work all the way to the bridge over the Alexandra Canal.  They created curved garden habitat areas that swing around & encapsulate the fig trees, surrounding them with mulch & plants, therefore protecting them from people.  I like this very much.

Many of the trees have repeatedly had bark gouged out by people of all ages intent on engraving their initials.  This is a relatively new pastime, starting only a couple of years ago.  I’ve seen kids standing at the tree using kitchen knives to cut into the trunk while adults looked on.

Damaging the bark is a very quick was to introduce disease into trees & can bring about their early death, so I am very pleased that the tree trunks are now protected by plantings all around them.  The tree canopies are big enough to provide shade on the lawn areas outside of the garden areas, so picnicking people will still be able to access much needed shade.

A range of native plants have been planted & a good number too.    It is not stingy planting.   It looks good now, so will look terrific once grown.

The work makes this area look maintained & cared for, which also may change the culture of some who use this park for recreation.  I imagine it will be harder to leave lots of garbage behind when it is obvious that a lot of work & money has gone into making this a beautiful place.  Here is hoping anyway.  It would be nice to be able to spend time in this park without feeling upset at the amount of garbage left around or blowing into the river.

All the fences along the canal have been replaced & they are attractive to look at.  Fences are needed here to keep people safe because the bank is steep & the drop is dangerous.  Fences will also stop people from driving their car to the bank & launching their speedboats into the river at this location.

All in all, Sydney Water & contractor Total Earth Care should feel proud of what they achieved.  The community has benefited by this major improvement to our park & the wildlife now have additions that will help improve their life.

Beauty always lifts the spirit, so this work will make people feel happier after time spent here.  I also think the work will educate people as to the importance of the river & its ecology.  Hopefully, this will spinoff into respectful behavior toward the river & the park environment.

Lastly, Tempe Recreation Reserve is highly visible from the Airport Drive.  I am sure many thousands of people look & wonder about this park every day.  Now when they are driving past they will get an excellent look at the bank restoration work & instead of seeing a rundown eroded area filled with weeds & junk, they will see beauty.  The benefits will flow on further than just the users of the park.  To me this is priceless.

A massive thank you to Sydney Water & contractor Total Earth Care from me.  You give me hope that one day the Cooks River & the Alexandra Canal will be restored & we will have a healthy river system once again.  All work here is worth it many times over.

A section of the educational signage that shows the sandstone riverbank.  I was amazed to read that dugong bones with butcher marks had been excavated when the Alexandra Canal was constructed. Dugongs lived here about 5,500-years-ago.

A section of the educational signage that shows the sandstone riverbank. I was amazed to read that dugong bones with butcher marks had been excavated when the Alexandra Canal was constructed.  Dugongs lived here about 5,500-years-ago.

Lots of exhibits were bought along for the talk on the indigenous history of the area.  I was amazed to read that dugong bones with butcher marks had been excavated when the Alexandra Canal was constructed.  Dugongs lived here about 5,500-years-ago.

Lots of exhibits were bought along for the talk on the indigenous history of the area. 

The lookout area is surrounded by seating height sandstone blocks, which I imagine will be really popular.

The lookout area is surrounded by seating height sandstone blocks, which I imagine will be really popular.

Two more sandstone seats were installed further along the Canal.  They look great.

Two more sandstone seats were installed further along the Canal. They look great.  You can see the garden area curve around the fig tree.

Looking down at the new sandstone river bank at the lookout area.  I think this looks very attractive.

Looking down at the new sandstone river bank at the lookout area. I think this looks very attractive.  

More habitat areas alongside the Alexandra Canal.  This will look amazing in a few months time.  It travels all the way to the bridge over the Canal.  The bitumen road has been painted rusty red with signage saying that it is a shared zone.  It looks cared for.

More habitat areas alongside the Alexandra Canal. This will look amazing once it all grows. The habitat area travels all the way to the bridge over the Canal. The bitumen road has been painted rusty red with signage saying that it is a shared zone. The whole area now looks cared for.

Lastly, an echidna who came for a visit from Taronga Zoo.

Lastly, an echidna who came for a visit from Taronga Zoo.  This is only the second echidna I have seen, so quite a treat.

You can just see the raised wooden footpath on the right of the photo.  The tree itself is magnificent.

You can just see the raised wooden footpath on the right of the photo. The tree itself is magnificent.

I was really happy to see that the Inner West Council is installing a raised wooden footpath over the tree roots of one of the significant Fig trees in Camperdown Oval.  The tree is very special, so it is wonderful that such care is being taken to protect it.

Apart from a Fig tree in O’Dea Reserve in Stanmore, that has a large area of raised decking around it, I have not seen this kind of work done around trees in parks of the old Marrickville municipality.  I think this is a first raised footpath in the area. This is an excellent move & I hope it becomes a norm.

A lot of work is being done to upgrade Camperdown Oval.  I will write about this later when the work is finished.  It’s very nice to see more trees have been planted.

The raised footpath - excellent to see such infrastructure when Council decide that a path must be placed in a certain area.

The raised footpath – excellent to see such infrastructure when Council decide that a path must be placed in a certain area.

The tree that is having its roots protected

The tree that is having its roots protected.  The path can be seen in the middle of the photo.

Part of the canopy of this Deciduous fig tree.  I think it is glorious.

Part of the canopy of this Deciduous fig tree. I think it is glorious.

Marrickville Council has, for the first time as far as I am aware, used cables & braces to stabilize a tree, rather than chop it down.

Showing the stainless steel bolt of the cabling system.

Showing the stainless steel bolt of the cabling system.

The tree is a 100-year-plus Deciduous fig (Ficus superba var henneana) that lives in the lovely Camperdown Park. It is a magnificent tree & totally worth the money & effort that has been put into retaining it.  I applaud Marrickville Council for taking this management approach.

Council’s sign below the tree says it is one of only a handful known to exist in Sydney.  

The tree has a visible crack in the base of the trunk. The trunk has been braced & has a measuring gauge that I assume will allow Council to monitor the crack to see if it is growing wider. The brace will fortify the stem & should prevent further splitting.

Showing the split in the trunk & the device that will  monitor any further splitting.

Showing the split in the trunk & the device that will monitor any further splitting.  Let’s hope the vandals leave it alone.

A number of stainless steel cables have been drilled through some larger branches & fixed with stainless steel bolts. These cables alleviate stress by supporting the heavy branches, especially during high winds.

The following is a 3-minute video explaining cabling & bracing, which is a common management intervention to save risky trees. The only difference is that with this tree, Council drilled right through the branches & attached with a stainless steel bolt, but the principles are the same.   See – http://bit.ly/1Dgl0q7

One view of the magnificent Deciduous fig tree in Camperdown Oval

One view of the magnificent Deciduous fig tree in Camperdown Oval

Another view.

Another view of this very special tree.

A number of branches have been removed to reduce the weight of the canopy & cables have been attached to branches to relieve stress on the tree.

A number of branches have been removed to reduce the weight of the canopy & cables have been attached to branches to relieve stress on the tree.

Such a shame as it has vigorous growth & is covered in fruit.

Such a shame as it has vigorous growth & is covered in fruit.

Marrickville Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) inside Enmore Park at Victoria Road frontage.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has extensive internal decay.
  • Subsidence split to a major limb.
  • Tree failed a Resistograph test (over 70% internal decay)
  • Two independent Arborist reports recommend removal.
  • Tree poses a risk to public safety.
  • High target area.”

Council says they will replace with another Port Jackson Fig, but not when they will do this.

This tree was on the original list for removal, but Council decided to investigate to see if it was suitable for bracing.  Then the decay was discovered.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 14th March 2014.   I will not be putting in a submission.

closer look

closer look

This trunk of this lovely Fig tree is 80% hollow.  The trunk will become habitat for wildlife in another location.

This trunk of this lovely Fig tree is 80% hollow. The trunk will become habitat for wildlife in another location.

I had a very pleasant & interesting meeting with a staff member of Marrickville Council at Enmore Park last Friday.  The meeting was to discuss the old Fig trees up for removal.  For more details & photos of trees to be removed in Enmore Park see –  http://bit.ly/19LIErT

In a nutshell, the news is good.

In my submission I asked that Council consider using the trunk of tree 107 as a public artwork for the municipality if the tree is removed.  I did not want this fabulous tree trunk to be put through the wood-chipper.  See photos below.

It was explained that this Fig tree has a very limited lifespan left & because of a number of factors is not doing well (soil, lack of light, epicormic growth, poor soil).  It will be removed & a replacement Fig planted nearby with room for this new tree to grow a full canopy, not restricted by other Fig trees as this one is.

Council will retain the beautiful trunk of the tree that is removed.  A Tender has been proposed for inclusion in Marrickville Art Post calling for a sculptor interested in creating a public artwork using this tree trunk.  The completed work will be installed somewhere in the municipality where it can continue to delight, albeit with some changes & Enmore Park’s natural history will live on.

I also asked Council to consider making the trunk of tree 104 habitat for hole-dependent wildlife.  The trunk was inspected & found to have limited appeal to wildlife, as it was open to the sky above making it less likely to be chosen as a home by birds, possums & other wildlife.  However, the trunk will be retained & taken to a re-vegetation site in the municipality to be laid on its side & left as more usable & attractive habitat for wildlife.   As it decays it will also provide nutrient to the soil.  This is a great outcome.

We also spoke about the Fig tree that I had missed when I visited this park.  The tree has numerous large cavities & obviously presents a significant risk, as it is located at the edge of the park next to the footpath & Victoria Road.  I have no doubt that this tree needs to be removed.  I was very pleased to be told that the trunk of this tree will also be taken to a re-vegetation site in the municipality to be laid on its side & become habitat for wildlife.   It is great for Council to be using trees in this way.

The Fig trees in Enmore Park will have the grass removed from around their trunks & the ground covered in mulch.  This will help them considerably.  All six Figs will be replaced with other Figs, retaining the lovely look of Enmore Park.  Succession planting is important to do if we don’t want to find ourselves in a position where most of the trees have reached a stage where the only option is mass removal & an denuded park.

I thank Marrickville Council for being open to ideas on using these trees.  I think that many in the community will be happy that the tree trunks of two trees will be used to create habitat elsewhere.  Tree holes are hard to come by these days.  I also think there are going to be some really happy wildlife, as both tree trunks offer excellent housing.  The trunks will also add to the appeal & beauty of the re-vegetation sites, as fallen trees are a natural look.

As for turning the fantastically beautiful & interesting old Fig tree trunk into public art – well this is very exciting to me.  I am so happy Council was open to this request.  I just wish I were a sculptor so I could apply for the opportunity to work with this tree trunk myself.

I think the community of all ages will find the artwork not only interesting, but will appreciate that Council has done something meaningful to retain an important piece of our natural history.   I can’t wait to see the finished piece.   I found the Marrickville Council staff member to be seriously interested in my thoughts & very accommodating answering my questions.  It was a great meeting & most importantly, a great outcome for local wildlife & local art.

One section of the trunk of the Fig tree that may become public art.

One section of the trunk of the Fig tree that may become public art.

Looking further up the trunk of the Fig tree that may become public art.

Looking further up the trunk of the Fig tree that may become public art.

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

This is a beautiful Fig tree.  It would be a shame to lose it.

This is a beautiful Fig tree. It would be a shame to lose it.

Side view. The erosion has reached the canopy edge.

Side view. The erosion has reached past the canopy edge.

One of the old Fig trees on the point at Tempe Reserve is being badly affected by erosion.  The stabilization works on the riverbank failed here with significant areas removed by river movement & high tides.  The deeper roots of the Fig tree are visible & some have even turned backwards, obviously not liking bracken water.

Marrickville Council would have been informed of this as part of the Tree Inventory completed in November 2012.  The tree will die if nothing is done to repair the riverbank.  This would be a great loss.

1st October 2013:  I have learnt from Marrickville Council that the Tree Inventory did not include trees in parks.  Therefore, I cannot say that Council will know of this particular tree issue.

Erosion with fig tree roots

Erosion with fig tree roots

Fig tree roots turning back

Fig tree roots turning back

It feels quite empty in this section of Jarvie Park now.  The child gives an idea of the size of the trunk.

It feels quite empty in this section of Jarvie Park now. The child gives an idea of the size of the trunk.

Marrickville Coucil has given ‘post notification’ emergency tree removal of a Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) at Jarvie Park Marrickville for the following reasons –

  • “The tree had a major branch (approx 40% of tree canopy) failure during a high wind event.
  • The remaining tree was structurally unsound & not viable for retention.”

Council says they will replace with an 800L Moreton Bay Fig  (Ficus macrophylla) in during 2013 planting season.

What a shame.  This was a seriously beautiful tree & its loss has left a big hole in the park.  I am glad that Council is replacing with another Fig tree of an advanced size.  May the new Fig tree go on to live a very long incident-free life.

The stump - it is a big one.

The stump – it is a big one.

Fungus, plus visible rot & borer damage in this branch of the fig tree in Petersham Park.

Fungus, plus visible rot & borer damage in this branch of the fig tree in Petersham Park.

When in Petersham Park recently to see the Coral tree up for removal I saw a couple of very old Post Jackson Fig trees in a very sorry state.  The one that really concerns me has visible areas of boring insect damage in a couple of its branches with two areas of fungus growing.

In my experience the presence of fungal fruiting bodies of any kind means that Council removes the tree.

I looked up the Petersham Park Masterplan & these trees were not listed for removal.  I also looked at the list of proposed trees for removal in Petersham & no trees in any Petersham park were included.

I am not even sure whether Council had any park trees included in the recent Tree Inventory.  I hope they were assessed & that this information becomes available to the community.

The Fig trees in Petersham Park, unlike those in Enmore Park, are not included in Marrickville Council’s list of heritage trees.  In my eyes this is a shame as Petersham Park is recognised as an historic park, the trees are old & surely there would be some that could fit the criteria for heritage protection.

Looking at the borer damage, rot & fungus on this tree I wondered what, if anything, Marrickville Council was doing for this tree.  It doesn’t require a qualification in tree management to see that removing the affected branches would 1.  remove any danger of these branches falling, 2. remove the areas of possible infestation & possibly catch the rot & borers before they infect the rest of the tree, particularly the trunk, 3. help the tree.

It may be that the rot has affected the trunk – or it may be that just a couple of branches are affected.  Council won’t know until they have the tree professionally assessed.  Surely intervention by a Veteran Tree Specialist is better than doing nothing until the tree is so far gone that it needs to be removed.

Maybe they have, though when I last spoke to one of Council’s Tree Managers, he said something along the line of – Council doesn’t have the time to give this kind of care to trees.

This tree reminds me of the boring insects that are working their way along many of the trees alongside the Cooks River.  When one Poplar dropped a branch a couple of years ago because of boring insect damage, the branch was removed, but nothing was done to help the tree.  The remainder of the branch has been left as a jagged mess when it could have been pruned to minimize the risk of decay agents & remaining boring insects entering the wound & the trunk.

I guess it depends on how important mature & old trees are considered.  Three of the heritage listed Canary Island palms along Carrington Road in Marrickville South have died in the last 3-years.  You could see them struggle during the long drought. The grand Hill’s Figs one block up that were once a major beauty in the area have had the roadside branches removed over the last 2-3 years leaving lob-sided trees with ‘risky’ epicormic growth.  Too late now for the aerial bundled cabling used to remove the need for such radical pruning.

The Hill’s Fig trees in Renwick Street just around the corner are also struggling, but has anything been done to help these trees?  Instead it looks like a couple of Lilly Pillies have been planted for succession planting.  Two to three years ago these Figs were in peak condition.

Does it matter?  I think it does.  The community generally loves older, or big or historic trees.  They link us to our past.  They act as landmarks.  They are often awe-inspiring & they are often beautiful.  Even when they are not as beautiful as they once were, they still attract our attention & often our admiration.

Of course there are those who don’t even really notice trees, see them as pests & would not understand how one could find a tree awe-inspiring, but there are plenty who feel like I do.  I’ve noticed that as the community changes in our municipality there are more people who think like me.

Trees can make a neighbourhood.  They can be fantastic or they can barely make an impact on the streetscape.  I know that many in the community consider all the trees that I have mentioned as special. It would be a crying shame to ignore them until it is too late.

Another type of fungus growing on another branch of the same tree in Petersham Park.  Borer damage & rot is also visible on this branch.

Another type of fungus growing on another branch of the same tree in Petersham Park. Borer damage & rot is also visible on this branch, while other branches appear unaffected.

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