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This is where Roach Street used to be. Now it is part of a lovely small park & is well used by the locals. The Gymea Lilies are stunning.

Right now many of the Gymea Lilies (Doryanthes excelsa) around Marrickville LGA are in flower.  They are spectacular flowers that can grow between 4-6 metres. The nectar-eating birds & bats love them so they benefit urban wildlife.  It can take up to 7 years for a Gymea Lily to flower for the first time so you need to be patient if you plant one.

Yesterday we discovered a ‘pocket park’ on the corner of Roach Street & Harnett Avenue Marrickville that was being used by quite a few people. Roach Street was blocked to traffic a few years ago & the space about the size of 3 blocks of land was used to create a lovely park. There are mass plantings of lavender & a particularly gorgeous shade tree with a park bench underneath.

I imagine the people who own the houses near the great clump of Gymea Lilies feel pleased as the work done by Marrickville Council has substantially increased the value of their properties & the park is a far better view than what was once a through road. I want one.

Newly published research in the US showed that a street tree out front can add an average of US$8,870 to the sale price of a property. “Only one-third of the total benefit goes to the homeowner with the tree in front. The rest spreads to neighbors within 100 feet.” (30.5 metres).  Combined value: US$12,828 to 7 houses close by.

US housing is far less expensive than in Sydney so the value of a good-looking street tree would be proportionally greater here. This research also shows that removing the street tree from out the front of one-house affects quite a few properties either side of the tree. I would include the properties across the road as well, especially in the Inner West or in other high-density suburbs.

13 street trees planted along the verge on Davis Street Dulwich Hill. 7 poisoned alongside 1 property, the remaining 6 alongside another property left to grow

I was told that 7 out of 13 new trees on Davis Street Dulwich Hill were poisoned or at least, this is the suspicion because there was a smell of petrol & the trees died very rapidly.   Great choice. Petrol kills saplings fast.

Marrickville Council tried hard here because they planted Red Flowering Gums & they planted them close together. I think this neighbourhood got really lucky to have this species of tree planted.

I admit to loving these trees because they look very beautiful & they flower profusely with gorgeous red or hot pink flowers that provide food for bats, bees, possums & all nectar-eating birds.  This species grows to a medium height & is not likely to have a negative impact on the neighbouring houses because they don’t grow invasive roots or grow higher than powerlines. If they were allowed to grow, the street would look spectacular.

I hope that Marrickville Council persists with replanting the same species despite the malicious damage & the cost involved.   We can only hope that

1 of the untouched Red Flowering Gums and 1 of the poisoned trees

residents all over Marrickville LGA come to understand that street trees have multiple benefits on their quality of life & the value of their property.  Vandalizing street trees also has a negative impact on nearby properties.

If people came to understand that property values escalate when there are good street trees out front, they may decide to take care of them & stop vandalizing them.

In today’s Inner West Courier there is a news item about a house that was sold in Concord.  The opening sentence was: Set on tree-lined Ludgate St is number 15, a four-bedroom house in Concord –

I’d be interested to know of any tree vandalism happening across Marrickville LGA.  It’s one thing to be critical of Council for not increasing the overall tree canopy & another to have Council’s hard work destroyed by one or 2 people who do not care about their neighbours or the fate of urban wildlife.

The people of Davis Street are angry & they have good right to be.  As they said, “What’s to stop this happening when the next trees are planted & then what will we have, a bare treeless side of the street when it could be so different.”

This was sent to me today. I am posting it word for word.

Vandalism to Trees

Dear Residents

Unfortunately the trees in Gladstone Street Marrickville have been vandalized once again. The damage was done early Sunday morning on the 25th July between 4am-5am.

Marrickville Council are trying hard as these new trees were around 2.5 metres tall & they were planted with an ag-pipe to facilitate watering to their roots

A local resident awoke at this time hearing the systematic breaking of all the lower limbs of the newly planted trees. A lone man was seen in the darkness, but the resident being on their own was scared to take a clear look.

We know it was one man in the early hours of the morning. We know that this is possibility the 8th or 9th time the trees have been killed & required replanting by Council. We know other trees in the area have also been damaged in a similar way in the past.

I believe it is someone who lives very close to the area.

I appeal to everybody who cares about these trees & the general beautification of our area to keep a look out for anything suspicious & report to the Police &/or Marrickville Council. Police & Council have been told of this damage & there is now constant surveillance of the trees concerned.

Thank you.

Concerned resident

I applaud the resident who sent out this mail-drop. This type of vandalism selfishly impacts on all residents by keeping bare streets looking ugly.

Marrickville Council intends to remove 1 Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis) outside 3 Calvert Street Marrickville.

Council gives the following reasons for removal:

  • Root growth from the tree has apparently caused fence damage on private property.
  • The species is considered a potential environmental weed.

Council say they will replace the tree with a Queensland brush box (Lophostemon confertus) though they don’t say when they will do this.

3 Calvert Street Marrickville

I went to visit this tree today.  First impressions were this is a beautiful tree planted in a lovely garden bed making this little area of Calvert Street look very nice. It is the only large tree in the street.

I was sad to see that Council’s Notice of Removal signs were nailed into the tree.  I had thought Marrickville Council had ceased this practice as they have been securing signs to trees with sticky tape for the last few months. I did notice that the trees in Toothill Street & Park Road also had their tree removal signs nailed, but as it was a given that these trees would be removed, I made no mention.  I am very disappointed that this practice has become the norm, as once again Council is sending a clear message to the community not to bother sending in a submission.

Council has excavated the footpath exposing a large root that travels underneath the brick front fence of the property.  No other roots enter the property.

The damage to the brick fence appears to be caused by the tree root, but the damage is restricted to one pillar on a 8-10 meter brick fence.  As is common with pillars regardless of whether there are trees nearby, the pillar has sustained a medium sized crack, which threatens to disconnect it from the remaining fence.

fence & tree root 3 Calvert Street Marrickville

I always take a man experienced in building with me where the tree is said to have caused structural damage.  His advice was the fence pillar is unlikely to fall in the near future without some other causative factor like a car crashing into it.  He said the fence could be easily repaired by filling the crack with cement & giving it a splash of paint. He said it they were really scared that the pillar might fall, they could fit a connector bolt to secure the pillar to the main fence.

I do not believe the damage is sufficient to warrant the removal of this beautiful street tree & will be putting in a submission asking Marrickville Council to repair the footpath, but deny the request to have the tree removed.

The tree is mature & healthy. I don’t care that Marrickville Council regards it as a potential environmental weed.  They also think Camphor laurel trees are environmental weeds, but City of Sydney Council has retained them as street trees in many places across their LGA such as Glebe Point Road, while Marrickville Council removes them.

Calvert Street is one of those streets that has very little green & almost no tree canopy.  This tree is important to the local community for the visual beauty & for maintaining property values. It also cleans up pollution from the large volume of traffic that drive through this street every day.

It would take many years for a street tree in these conditions to grow to this size.  We as a community need to keep all the trees we can.

Chinese hackberry is said to compete with native flora & is therefore detrimental to the local environment.  However, there is no native environment nearby.  Much of what surrounds this tree is cement, buildings & bitumen.

City of Sydney Council protects Chinese hackberry trees if they are 10 metres tall or more.

street tree Calvert Street

I would only support this tree’s removal if Marrickville Council plants more good-sized street trees along Calvert Street & only at a time when those trees have grown to a decent size. If this tree is removed now, it will denude the street of its greenery & have a negative impact on property values.  If it were happening on my street, I would be doing what I could to save this tree because of the impact its removal will have on my property value & the health of my family, especially if the tree was close to my house.

I know properties are going for high prices in Marrickville even if they are imbedded in cement, but ask any real estate agent whether a house is likely to go for a higher price if there is a good looking street tree out front & they will say yes.  The difference in what a property can sell for is significantly higher.  If people realised this, they would never allow street trees to be removed or be butchered by energy companies.

As is always the case, if mine is the only submission, the tree will likely go. I ask that you please send a submission to Marrickville Council.  You don’t need to live near the tree to be allowed to do this. The trees across the LGA belong to all of us & they benefit all of us.  I need others who care about street trees to help by sending in submissions even if the tree is not in their area.

I am happy to send you a draft if this will make it easier. You can change it as you see fit or just sign & e-mail it to Council. The deadline for submissions is Monday 9th August 2010.  Thank you. J

A while ago I wrote about an idea I had for Marrickville Council to start an Adopt a Tree program to encourage people to take care of the street tree out front.  I have also written about other ideas to increase & look after the urban forest in Marrickville LGA. These have been collected in the following page –

This young street tree has a fighting chance of surviving because it is planted in a grassed area. Still the odds are very much against it.

When I posted these ideas I had some anxiety as to whether I was asking too much of the community & whether the community would even consider taking part if such programs were in place.

Yesterday, to my delight, I discovered that Randwick City Council has a program that goes much further than what I thought about & asks a whole lot more from the community.  They instigated an Adopt a Street Tree Program. The following is directly from their brochure:

This program provides residents with the information they require should they wish to personally contribute in a practical way to the long-term maintenance of newly planted street trees. By ‘adopting’ a street tree, residents voluntarily take on the role of not only watering a street tree, but also regularly inspecting it for pests & diseases & informing the Council of acts of vandalism or other problems.

Randwick City Council also prunes trees when needed & ask residents to notify them if they think a street tree needs pruning. I have written a couple of times that I think dead or dying branches of street trees could be pruned before they fall as this is a normal cycle for trees. I think in Marrickville LGA, if a street tree drops branches, they are marked as dangerous trees & put on the death-row list.

I tend to write about trees as issues come up & then research the issue. This approach works for me because the urban forest is a big subject & any research generally has to be specific.  Today I Googled ‘Adopt a Tree Programs’ & found that this is being done by a number of Municipal Councils in Australia & overseas.

Some examples follow.  I have quoted directly from their website & bolded particular points because they impress me.

The City of Stonnington, Inner city Melbourne. Residents in streets where trees are 3 to 6 years of age are being asked to adopt the tree in front of their home & by doing so commit to watering it twice a week with recycled water.

The City of Port Phillip Melbourne. By simply adopting a tree in your street or neighbourhood, & watering it weekly, you will help to save the trees within the city from the ravages of drought. …. the Port Phillip Council is giving away Free Buckets which can be collected from any of the locations provided onsite.

The City of Marion, Sturt South Australia. People who register will receive a free watering bucket & detailed tree care instructions. Watering a tree outside your home once or twice a week will help preserve one of the city’s most important natural resources.

Moonee Valley City Council. Launched in 2006, the Adopt a Tree program invites residents to care for a street tree during this period of dwindling water supplies. Parents of adopted trees will get an official adoption certificate, a bucket & a litre of environmentally-friendly laundry liquid.

Torres Shire Council. A special “Adopt A Tree” award category has been included in our 2010 Torres Shire Garden Awards that will be held in June this year.

Wollongong City Council. Since its State pilot in Wollongong during 2003Other residents interested in planting more native trees in their own yards can take advantage of Council’s Greenplan which offers 5 trees for $15.

The City of Unley South Australia. Currently the Council provides a bucket and fact sheet to residents when a new street tree is planted. The fact sheet provides some detail as to how the resident can assist by watering the tree in its formative years.  Part of the strategy relates to Unley’s street trees, & includes a recommendation that the Council launch an Adopt a Tree program.

Also of interest in the City of Unley papers regarding street trees was:

The economic value of trees is derived from:

  • Their association with reduced energy consumption (a well placed shade tree can reduce consumption by up to 30%)
  • Contribution to property values (trees in the metropolitan area contribute 13-20% of property value), & potential for contributing to higher profits for businesses.
  • The monetary value of Unley’s 22,000 street trees is estimated at approximately $150.2 M (Burnley Method). To remove a tree costs on average $1000, and to replace costs $200.

The University of Melbourne. Although the University of Melbourne is not a Council, I have included them here as their Adopt a Tree Program assists Melbourne Councils.

Many trees have dropped their scorched leaves from the extreme drought & this summer & many are under stress from a lack of water. The local councils cannot save every tree as they are under-resourced & under water restrictions themselves. The City of Melbourne, for example, has over 60,000 trees to care for & they need our help as a community by contributing our own grey water to help water our beautiful trees.

Planted in paving, under an awning, all the odds are against this tree surviving unless it is cared for.

I wish Marrickville Council would follow these other Councils & set up an Adopt a Tree Program.  It may not take off immediately, but it may prove popular.  Needless to say, all programs need time for the community to get to know about & decide to get involved.

Even if it did only amount to a couple of hundred households/businesses participating during the first couple of years, at least 200 trees or more a year could be helped to survive.  This is significant, as Council plants up to 500 trees a year.

Street trees in Eastwood. Most of the residential streets in this & surrounding suburbs have many tall trees.

Dr Jago Dodson from Griffith University’s Urban Research Program is advocating the creation of many more community gardens in cities saying there will be increased pressure on urban areas to produce food in the future.

“In the context of some of the big challenges we’re facing – challenges about the sustainability of rural & regional agriculture, challenges about drought conditions, changing environmental conditions, questions about global warming’s impact on food supplies across the world & also questions about the sustainability of petroleum, which is one of the key inputs into industrial agricultural systems – those big changes are going to start to motivate more creatively how we produce food in society.”

Most residential streets in Chatswood have many tall, shady street trees. This is the norm.

Dr Dodson has some innovative ideas that I think are really exciting.  Judging by Marrickville Council’s support for the latest verge gardening project in Wilga Avenue & the community garden in Denison Road Dulwich Hill, I would imagine Council will also support other community gardens in the LGA.  This year they have said they will provide help in-kind such as removing cement to facilitate such projects & that there are a number of suitable places for community gardens in the LGA.  Access to water is the main issue if the gardens are not on the verges out front.

I predict community gardens will be as popular as book clubs in the not too distant future & as is with Book Clubs, only limited places are available so it pays to be involved from the beginning.

The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health published research from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam showed that living less than 1km (0.62miles) from a green space had a major impact in lowering the incidence of major physical disease & mental ill-health.

Professor Barbara Maher of the Lancaster Environment Centre said, “The study confirmed that green spaces create oases of improved health around them especially for children.” She said, “At least part of this ‘oasis’ effect probably reflects changes in air quality.”

More proof that a good-sized street tree out front does more than beautify, raise property values & reduce your power costs for heating & cooling.  Street trees also remove up to 60% of street level particulate matter such as dust, smoke, ash & the sooty bi-product from car & truck exhausts that we would generally filter through our lungs & which cause asthma & other respiratory illnesses.

A recent study found tripling the number of street trees could reduce asthma among children by 25 percent.  Researchers from Columbia University in the US found rates of asthma fell by a ¼ when there were around 350 more trees in a square kilometre.

The research found that children are less likely to develop asthma if they live in tree-lined streets, particularly in areas with more street trees.  Here, I think they mean nice big trees with a canopy, not the hacked variety that are so prevalent in Marrickville LGA.

Part of the aims of New York City’s Million Tree Program is to reduce the incidence of respiratory illness as well as improve the overall mental & physical health of its residents.  They also believe in global warming & in 2005, New York tallied its CO2 emissions & found they were approximately 1% of US totals & less than 1/3 of the average US per capita level. 79% CO2 came from buildings. They believe their emissions are so low because there is a heavy reliance on cycling & public transport use. They still to reduce their CO2 emissions by a further 33%.

Rockdale City Council planted street trees along both side of the Princes Hwy Rockdale for approximately 2 km. The awnings posed a problem, so each tree was pruned into a ball & these are maintained regularly. I like what Rockdale Council has done. It looks great & brings green every 3 metres along the shopping strip.

A short, succinct article from Real Estate Agents about the monetary worth of trees on your property, which says, “mature trees & a well-landscaped yard can improve your home’s value by 10-25%.”

Every time I mention this to others I watch the disbelief on their faces, yet this estimate is a number I come across repeatedly in research & articles about the value of trees.

Try looking in the local community papers in the Real Estate section.  If there is a street tree in front of the property, the photographer always includes a branch or leaves from the tree in the photo of the property.  They do this because the sight of trees has a subconscious effect on us.  When we see leafy green, we get a feeling of peace & safety even if we are not directly aware of this. Leafy green means good place to rear children, safety & happiness.  Not to many of us will look at a photo of a property surrounded by cement with no green & compare it favorably with a property that has trees & landscaping, even if the greener property is of lesser value.

The iconic Coral trees in Clifton Gardens were chopped down mid April 2010 by Mosman Council as part of an upgrade of the picnic area. They said the trees had a high-hazard rating.  The residents were very unhappy to lose these & 4 other trees.

Professional tree trimmers in Gilroy California killed 2 owlets when they chopped down a palm tree despite being warned twice about the nest. The Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center is caring for the third owlet, who survived the fall. Police are investigating.

Energy Australia reduced a Frenches Forest woman to tears after their tree pruners entered her property & ‘butchered’ her trees.  She said her trees grew straight upwards & were 4 metres away from the power lines & Energy Australia’s intervention was unnecessary.  The first comment by ‘Chips’ is also interesting as he says this has happened to trees on his property numerous times.

Good news… Buffalo, Illinois, a town of 500 residents has no more room for street trees. They have been focused on street tree planting since 1986 & have now run out of room.  Mike Dirksen, city arborist in nearby Springfield said, “There are so many benefits from trees.  They shouldn’t just be seen as having an ornamental purpose.” This should be engraved on a gold plaque. Bet the town looks stunning!

CELEBRITY NEWS (drum-roll please) Last April, in Sao Paulo, Avatar Producer James Cameron & actor Sigourney Weaver planted a native Brazilian tree pau-brasil which is 99% extinct to kick-off a global Earth Day Network which intends to plant 1 million trees in 15 countries by the end of 2010.

Chatswood, Ashfield, Pacific Hwy & Alexandria - all are very busy roads & they have large street trees at close spacing.

Can't talk about 'dogging' without a photo of a dog-this one is smiling because his owner loves him enough to put him in a harness while travelling

1.    In Darwen, Lancashire UK, 6,000 trees were chopped down to stop ‘dogging.’  Never heard of dogging?  Neither had I.  Dogging is sex in the bush, or woods if you are English.  This 12 hectare area must have been lovely because people went there in droves.  It was next to an expressway, so perhaps they just could not wait until they got home.  United Utilities who chopped the 6,000 trees down said the trees were dangerous.  Of course they would.

2.        In Worcester USA, around 2,400 street trees & 23,624 trees on private property throughout the city died as a result of an ice-storm in December 2008 & the subsequent infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle.  According to the article in The Telegram, the community is devastated by the sudden & radical change to the streetscape, which is now bare & has affected property sales.  The city intends to plant 2,400 shade trees by end of 2011 to replace the street trees that were lost.

3.        In March 2010 Indonesia launched the “One Billion Indonesian Trees for the World” program. There is world-wide concern regarding the rapid deforestation happening in Indonesia for palm oil plantations, so this program will help significantly.

4.     The Brunei Times reported that Brunei will plant 60,000 trees in ecologically degraded areas during 2010 to support biodiversity.

5.        An American arborist, Gut Sternberg successfully spearheaded an internet campaign to save an historic Osage Orange tree in Kewanee, Illinois. I find this wonderful because this man used his knowledge of trees to save a tree that the council was going to remove.  I need someone knowledgeable like this in my life.

6.       Walmart in Henderson Tennessee, America has been ordered to replace 120 of the 170 trees they topped in their parking lot.  Henderson Mayor Scott Foster said the community is “livid” & asked “how did they think they were going to get away with it?”  He would fall over if he saw some of our examples of ‘routine pruning’ by power companies.  It’s a shame because trees are the only council asset which appreciates.

7.      Detroit, once the mecca for heavy industry & car manufacturing is planning to change a space equivalent to ¼ of its city into farmland & community gardens to bring food supply closer to the city.  They will use the vast areas of empty houses & land to do this.  It is estimated that there is 33,500 empty houses & 91,000 vacant residential lots.

8.       Band Pearl Jam donated US$210,000 to Cascade Land Conservancy to plant 33 acres of native trees & plants around the Puget Sound to offset an  estimated 5,474 metric tons of CO2 created by their world tour in 2009.   Fantastic action that is getting respect from around the world.

stunningly beautiful- a residential street in Cooks Hill Newcastle-bet everyone wants to live in this street

9.       Bridgeport USA with a population of 138,000 is planting 100,000 shade trees to help cope with summer heat.  They have launched the Adopt a Tree program where the Council will spend $35,000 on planting trees on residents’      properties.

Reminds me of Blacktown City Council who gave away 77,000 trees free to residents last year.  Bridgeport Council also plans to map all trees with 6 inch diameter & above.  Mayor Finch said, “Planting a tree gives you a feeling of empowerment & you’re helping the environment.”

Don’t know what happened below.

properties.  Reminds me of Blacktown City Council who gave away 77,000 trees free to residents last year.  Bridgeport Council also plans to map all trees with 6 inch diameter & above.  Mayor Finch said, “Planting a tree gives you a feeling of empowerment & you’re helping the environment.”

properties.  Reminds me of Blacktown City Council who gave away 77,000 trees free to residents last year.  Bridgeport Council also plans to map all trees with 6 inch diameter & above.  Mayor Finch said, “Planting a tree gives you a feeling of empowerment & you’re helping the environment.”

1.          The Cumberland Courier reported that Energy Australia is to spend $62 million installing high-voltage power lines between substations at Allambie Heights & Balgowlah to protect endangered tree communities at River Flat Eucalyptus Forest & Duffys Forest Ecological Community & to not damage historic Sloane Crescent Bridge.  This is a great thing they are doing.

showing the Optus cables clearance - extreme at this end of Renwick St Marrickville South. At the other end of this street the branches were pruned to & above the Optus cables

Pity about what Energy Australia did to the street trees at the Woolworths end of Renwick Street during ‘routine pruning’  last February.   People just looked at the trees with their mouth open.  As usual, the feeling was “the damage is done & there is nothing we can do about it.”

It is such as shame as we know they can do better.  See where just last February I complimented Energy Australia for the good pruning they did in Excelsior Parade.  Even Renwick Street has different pruning outcomes.  The lower end, towards Carrington Road, the street trees were moderately pruned. Some trees that had been almost destroyed during the previous pruning cycle 7-8 years ago were looked after this time.  Interestingly, Energy Australia workers did not clear branches below the Optus cables at this end of Renwick Street, whereas up the other end the Optus cables where given a huge clearance. The trees on the corner of Renwick & Excelsior had more than 2/3s of their canopy removed.

2.         Brisbane City Council announced they will plant 2 million trees across the city by 2012.  This is a fabulous initiative & the community can participate.

Their website says residents can request a street tree be planted & provides a list of suitable trees.  Brisbane City Council also say they plant trees which will not interfere with overhead powerlines & that street trees are classified as “valuable Council & community assets” & protected under the Natural Assets Local Law making it an offence to prune, interfere with or remove street trees.  Wonderful.

In another lovely initiative, Brisbane City Council has organised Tree Trail. Information & a map of 20 locations can be downloaded highlighting special & significant trees around the CBD.  I think this is a terrific idea & believe it would be a boon for tourism.  HTTP://

3.                 Hornsby Councillor Bruce Mills’ proposal to plant mature trees to create ‘instant boulevards’ was voted in during a March Council Meeting.  Residents need to request that their street become a tree-lined boulevard. Councillor Mills says this initiative will be “returning ratepayer funds in a way which adds to their property value.”

After pruning by Energy Australia, this tree on Renwick Street is a shadow of its former self

The Boulevard in Dulwich Hill is an excellent local example of a street loved because of its many, large street trees that cascade over the road.  Ask any real estate agent & they will tell you this street is sort after with buyers paying more to purchase property here because of the presence of these trees.

The following is a short, but relevant article about trees & property value in America.  Adelaide University has assessed the value of trees upwards to 25% of the property’s value in line with Australian property prices as they are more expensive than in the USA.

Personally, I would love it if our Council copied the ‘instant boulevard’ idea. Even planting more developed trees would be a step forward as these have a greater chance of surviving.  City of Sydney Council planted 200 litre root-ball 4 metre high Simon Poplars along & on the corner of side streets in Glebe Point Road  in 2009.   All these trees have survived & are growing well.  There positive impact was immediate & the area looks greener & prettier for it.

4.                 City of Sydney Greens Councillor Chris Harris wrote about a proposed cycleway in Johnstons Creek that he says will destroy wildlife habitat.  This new 2.5 meter wide cement path starts at Orphan Creek, an woodland & wildlife habitat area in Forest Lodge that was decimated for a similar path in 2009 despite enormous & organised community opposition.  What is also disturbing in this article is residents from Minogue Crescent who are directly affected by the new cycleway, were refused permission to address the Councillors during a Council Meeting who ‘voted in a block’ to deny them this opportunity.  I would have thought it a right.

5. The Daily Telegraph reported that State Forests NSW started woodchip logging in the Mumbulla & Murrah state forests on 29th March 2010 despite this being the last area in SE NSW where the threatened species Koala lives. A group of residents attempting to save the Koala habitat managed to stop logging by getting in the way of loggers.

This street tree in Renwick Street had a naturally round canopy. Before it was pruned early 2010, it looked something like the area shaded in yellow. It may have been taller

Koalas are listed as a threatened species & classified as ‘vulnerable.’ From the NSW state governments own web-site – A ‘vulnerable’ species is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances & factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate. Yet, they are taking down forests where Koalas are known to live.  I just don’t understand this.

Everyone fell in love with the burnt Koala who was filmed drinking water given by a Fireman during last year’s Victorian bushfires, but we can’t rely on our government to save our national emblem.  For more information about this issue including how you can help, go to Nature Conservation Council of NSW

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.

Last Friday, I was called to Excelsior Parade Marrickville, home of ‘The Pride of Excelsior.’ (see Shame Page) “Energy Australia are pruning the trees.”  I arrived just as they were finishing.  Whether due to recent bad publicity plaguing the energy companies or just a good crew of contractors, they had done a good job.

Energy Australia removed only what was necessary

I always give credit where when it’s due. This is one such occasion.  I have been worried about these trees knowing that Energy Australia were due.  This time there were only a few branches on the road & they had taken care not to over prune.

Interestingly, a small crowd had gathered to assess the work, indicating that others hold these trees in high esteem as well.

The trees are Brush Box, large & old, just the type that Council have recommended to be chopped down & replaced in their Tree Strategies Issues Paper (see last post).  No one knows when these trees were planted, but the housing was built in 1915.  Older residents said the trees went in around that time.  They form a canopy over the street & support a myriad of wildlife.  Everyone who comes to this street mentions the beauty of these trees.  Even the real estate agents mention them in their advertising when a house is up for sale & I am sure the house prices reflect their presence.

A Fire-Wheel tree (Stenocarpus sinuatus, Wheel of Fire, White Beefwood, White Oak for those of you who like botanical names) had to be topped for the cables.  This native species of tree can grow to 40m, but more commonly to 15m in cultivation.  Question is, why was this tree planted under electricity wires around 5 years ago? It will continue to grow & by the time Energy Australia return, the trunk will have grown taller.  Routine pruning will then turn this tree into a flat umbrella & Council will probably chop it down.  In Los Angles, Fire-Wheels are classified as heritage trees & they are described as a ‘fragile tree.’ So, well done Energy Australia.  Thank you for leaving the trees looking beautiful.  I am sure the community will be happy you did.

Integral Energy butchered these street trees in Valentine Ave Blacktown

Not so for the residents of Valentine Avenue Blacktown & Browning Crescent Lalor Park, who complained about the pruning practices of Integral Energy contractors recently.  (see my posts More butchering of street trees & Bakers dozen or it dozen matter).  Curious to see just how bad the damage was & to compare with what has happened in Marrickville LGA, we took a trip there last weekend to see the trees. What a shocker!  They were butchered & the residents were entitled to complain.

Compare the two trees

The visit was worthwhile on a number of fronts.  I now know that Blacktown Council took action to prevent savage over-pruning, whereas in cases of severe over pruning in Marrickville LGA no action seems to have been taken.  Marrickville Council also can intervene in the future, rather than sit back & allow our assets to be destroyed.

Tree-lined M4 which must assist local wildlife

I haven’t been on the M4 for a while.  After leaving the eyesore of Parramatta Road, which seriously needs the intervention of multiple councils, we reached the expressway.  This has become a green corridor as the trees planted for the Olympics have grown & now present a tall, lush, green screen.  It is quite an achievement to make a highway look nice, but they have done it.

I also discovered that Blacktown, Seven Hills & Lalor Park are as green as Eastwood.  There are tall trees everywhere, many of them Eucalypts & it is impossible to count the trees on the horizon. I think Blacktown Council has done well regarding street trees. I found other articles about the recent pruning of street trees & in other locations the Blacktown area.  From the Blacktown Sun – & another from the Blacktown Advocate – & from the Cumberland Courier –

During my research I was stunned to read that Blacktown City Council gives away 70,000 trees every year free to residents as part of the Visionary Greening Of Blacktown Program.  It’s working.  Then I came across “more than 7,000 native trees have been planted in Fairfield as part of Blacktown City Council Council’s Regenesis Project.” (Aug & Sept 09) A look at Blacktown Council’s web-site revealed more.  Over 500 residents & businesses people helped plant 23,370 native trees, shrubs & grasses over 8 month period ending June 09.

The Sikh temple & a street in the new housing estate

Even the Sikh Centre, a massive temple, has been given an Environment Grant ($4,200) to rejuvenate the local streetscape, as this is a new housing development with building still under way.

Blacktown City Council has done a Tree Inventory & they also have a Significant Tree Register.  Our Council has  neither & at present have no intention to do so.

I’m going to stop now because I sound like I have set up the Blacktown City Council Fan Club. for your free t-shirt! (NOTE: no such web-site) This research started because I wanted to know why our Council ignores what happens to our street trees & Blacktown Council doesn’t.  Now I can see why.  It’s also good to know what other Council’s are doing about street trees & over-all greening of their municipality so we know what is a reasonable expectation.

Back to the Brush Box trees on Excelsior Parade.  These trees are also at risk of being damaged by passing trucks.  Residents in the area are campaigning on a number of issues & one of their concerns is that long semi-trailers on Excelsior Parade will destroy the trees.  Considering the damage heavy vehicles have caused to trees in the nearby Carrington Road (see post – I think their concerns are justified. To view their concerns go to the Council Gripe web-site at –

Top right shows the overhead cables cut across the corner-the trees here were scooped out even though they were a fair distance from the cables



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