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Agenda item Number 5 for next week’s Marrickville Council Meeting 6th December 2011 recommends –

1.   “Council undertake to remove & replace the 24 Norfolk Island Hibiscus Street trees in Harrow Road Stanmore (My count is 27 trees)

2.   the removal & replacements be phased to occur in 2 stages approximately 5 years apart,

3.   the first stage of removals comprise the 11 trees located between numbers 2-30 Harrow Road,

4.   the second stage of removals comprise the 13 trees located between numbers 40-64 Harrow Road, &

5.   the replacement trees be comprised of a single appropriate deciduous species so as to afford winter solar access & summer shade benefits to south west facing dwellings.”

“The approximate cost of required works is as follows –

  • Removal –

–       Phase 1: $9,000

–        Phase 2: $13,000 (including escalation)

  • Replacement (contract planting of 100L size trees with 12 weeks maintenance period) –

–       Phase 1: $28,000

–       Phase 2: $39,000 (including escalation)”

  • TOTAL:  $89,000

A petition of 27 residents has been sent to Marrickville Council asking that the street trees be removed.  Council states that they have received a total of 11 complaints about the street trees from Harrow Street residents since 1999.  In brief –

–        7 of these were about ‘seasonal infestation’ by Cotton Harlequin Bugs with 1 resident also writing about Rosella nests & possible bird lice.

–        2 were about flower litter with 1 resident adding that the seedpods produce ‘glass-like’ hairs causing skin irritations & get stuck in their feet.

–        2 households complained in February 2011 about the ‘glass-like’ hairs getting stuck in their feet & causing skin irritations to their children, babies, pets, fruit litter & possible damage to their property by roots of the trees. See report for more details – Item 5: 6th December 2011 – http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/council/meetings/businesspapers.html?s=438169853

The 11 residents who wrote to Council have legitimate complaints, but what a nightmare.  The community will lose 24 (or 27?) street trees, an average of 8-metres tall.  Apart from the issue of climate change & tree loss, urban wildlife will be the biggest losers. These trees are habitat for Cotton Harlequin Bugs, a harmless jewel-like bug with many different patterns. They are well known for their maternal care as they guard the eggs & nymphs until they are old enough to fend for themselves & fly off to live out their lives.  Even though they feed by sucking the sap of the tree, they do not harm the tree. For great photos & more information see – http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_stinkbugs/Harlequin.htm

This street tree in Harrow Road was unique for having so many Cotton Harlequin Bugs on its trunk. Not all the street trees had visible bug families & some had one or two small clusters of bugs sitting on the trunk. This tree was one of the 3 trees that had bead branches at the base or on the trunk.

Many bird species are all through these trees, eating nectar & feasting on insects.  With the amount of birds that I witnessed during 2 visits, thought really needs to be given that any new planting will produce food for the birds.  Council has recently started planting a new variety of Bottle Brush that looks spectacular, but flowers for a maximum of 3 weeks & interestingly, the birds don’t pay the flowers much attention. The flowers are probably all colour & pizzazz, but low producers of nectar.

The Norfolk Island Hibiscus has recently been added to the list of ‘exempt from protection’ trees in the Marrickville Development Control Plan 2011.  However, their Draft DCP 2010 (the only one I could find) says Council may refuse to grant consent to remove trees if, The tree is part of a wildlife corridor or provides habitat for wildlife; and/or the reason for removal is substantively aesthetics/emotive & relates to leaf, flower, seed &/or twig drop.” I would say that these trees in Harrow Street fulfill all these criteria.  Norfolk Island Hibiscus trees are on many Australian councils lists of recommended street trees.

Council is recommending the following deciduous trees as replacements –

1.   Trident Maple (Acer buergeranum) – A native of China, that grows to 5-20 metres high with a canopy of 6-7 metres & produces yellow flowers in spring. The seeds are known colloquially as ‘whirly-gigs’ because they have papery ‘wings’ & can fly long distances in the wind.

2.   Claret Ash (Fraxinusangustifolia ‘raywood’) – A cultivar of the Ash tree predominantly found in Europe, Asia & North America & grows to 15-20 metres. The dark green leaves turn claret red in autumn. It’s described as having invasive roots.  The WA Water Corporation recommends planting no less that 6-metres from a sewerage pipe.

3.   Jacaranda  (Jacaranda mimosifolia) – A native of South America that grows 12-15 metres high x 8 metres wide & produces lavender bell-like flowers during spring. Jacarandas drop a large amount of leaf & flower debris as well as tough seed pods 5-7.5 cm in diameter.  It’s described as having invasive roots. The WA Water Corporation recommends planting no less than 6-metres from a sewerage pipe.

4.   Golden Rain Tree (Koelreutaria paniculata) – A native of China & Korea that grows 10-metres high & 10-metres wide.  Produces yellow flowers in autumn 5-8 mm diameter seeds that look like Chinese paper lanterns.

5.   Leopard Tree (Caesalpinia ferrea) – A native of Brazil that grows 10-12 metres high x 5 metres wide & produces yellow flowers. It sheds bark in large flakes, leaving a patchy grey & white effect on the trunk. It’s described as having invasive roots. The WA Water Corporation recommends planting no less that 6-metres from a sewerage pipe. The Australian website ‘Save Our Waterways Now’ says of the Leopard tree, This is a weed to be expected” because it grows where the seeds land.  In November 2008, Brisbane City Council said, “Leopard trees will no longer be planted on Brisbane footpaths as the city takes stock of dangerous & nuisance trees ….”  See – http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/death-knell-for-dangerous-brisbane-trees-20091108-i3d7.html

As the petitioners do not like flower, leaf & seed litter & one resident thinks the tree roots may be damaging their property, I suspect the choices for replacement trees will also cause them concern.

I am not a subscriber to planting only native trees, as I believe that many non-natives can be very useful to wildlife & I actually like the trees suggested.  However, in this case none of the replacement trees offer any value to Australian wildlife that I am aware of.  On 15th November 2011 Council approved its Biodiversity Strategy. 3 weeks later they are recommending that Councillors vote to remove a whole street of trees of high habitat value & replace with street trees of no habitat value whatsoever.

We spoke to 2 residents. One appeared angry with me taking photos of the trees & shouted, “I love these trees.”  The other had no notice of a push to have the trees removed.  The first thing they said was, “But the Cotton Harlequins live in them.” They were very distressed & said they would write to Council.

The residents who have put in the petition know, but the remaining residents in the street do not seem to know & I think this is important.

Council should be sending a letter to every household in Harrow Road informing of the petition & hold a public meeting at a good time on the weekend to speak to the residents about this.  Leaf, flower & seed debris & Cotton Harlequin Bugs are not issues of concern to every Harrow Road resident.

To my mind there is already a problem with Marrickville Council’s processes in that the removal of so many street trees is decided without community consultation.  To remove the trees & then give the community a choice from 5 tree species isn’t real community consultation.  It’s the leftovers. Harrow Road is a long road with many more than 27 residents.  They deserve a say.

Lastly, 1 tree has a large drill hole at the base of its trunk & appears to have been poisoned & 2 other trees next to it also show multiple dead branches at the base & on the trunk & perhaps this is also a sign of poisoning.

I have made a short video of the trees here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhP1AgavpjA

Harrow Street Stanmore - all these street trees & more are recommended for removal

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A lovely Eucalypt has been poisoned & ring-barked outside 38 Thornley Street Marrickville South.  This vandal made sure there would be no coming back for this street tree. The holes they drilled into the base of the trunk & into a root are so big they could fit a giant’s thumb.

I was informed about this tree this afternoon.   When I arrived to have a look, someone had recently finished hosing the tree as there was water runoff from all around the tree. This water travelled into a driveway, to the gutter & from there would travel to the Cooks River located just behind Thornley Street.  The tree was possibly hosed to remove obvious purple tint of the poison.

Showing a deep, wide drill hole in an above ground root. Holes like this are all around the base of the tree trunk. The purple looks to be the staining made by the poison used

Judging by the crisp, dead leaves I’d guess that the tree was poisoned recently & given another dose of poison & ring-barked today.

I looked for reasons why the tree would be poisoned & suspect it was done because of leaf litter &/or small nuts if the tree does produce these.  It hasn’t even caused problems with the footpath.  It is not a big street tree & does not have spreading branches that would cause concern that they may fall.  Thornley Street is wide in this section & the tree is not blocking anything.

I’m not an expert on tree species, but it looks like a Narrow Leaf Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) or a Grey Ironbark (Eucalyptus paniculata). It’s many years old & stands between 5-7 metres.

This tree vandalism has been noticed early so Marrickville Council must call in the police to investigate.  This is not a minor incident.

Generally, the only person happy that a street tree has been killed is the person who killed it.  Everyone else suffers a sense of grief & loss. Tree vandals rob themselves, rob their neighbours, rob the greater community & rob young people. They also rob wildlife of a food source. A good-looking street tree like this one adds significantly to property values.  Ask any Real Estate Agent.  They will say the same.

Street trees are public assets & can be worth thousands of dollars.  Pittwater Council offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to a successful prosecution of tree vandals on any tree vandalized across their LGA.  This sends a clear message to the community that, if caught vandalizing trees, they will be prosecuted.  The fines are substantial & can be up to $100,000.  The community of Marrickville LGA must learn that Council will not tolerate vandalism of public trees.  A successful prosecution would be the fastest way to change the culture of some in our community who believe that they will get away with this shameful & selfish behaviour.

I made a short video of the tree here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KARtvZVHNA4

Poisoned & ring-barked street tree outside 38 Thornley Street Marrickvlle South

Yesterday I was told of 2 Fig trees that had been poisoned.  They are both mature Hill’s Figs & are significant street trees on Margaret Street very near the corner of Wardell Road Dulwich Hill.

You may remember that some residents wanted these trees removed a couple of years ago.  Thankfully Marrickville Council refused to comply with their wishes.  I remember these trees well because they were part of the reason why I decided to start SoT.  So here we are, 2 years later & someone has decided to poison them.  It’s such a shame.

Both of the Fig trees have many drill holes. The white drips are probably the poison. Click to enlarge.

Multiple large holes have been drilled into the base of the trunk & into the surface roots in both trees. The holes are easily visible to the naked eye.  Liquid poison was then poured into the holes.

Both trees are rapidly losing their leaves & their trunks are splitting in places.  They look gravely ill & if trees feels pain, these ones would be in agony.

I wrote to Marrickville Council who said that they are doing their best to remediate the trees.  If they are unsuccessful & the trees die, they are considering leaving the trees as they are until the decay is such that they have to be removed.  Maybe they will only remove a few branches for safety.  Maybe they will leave the trunks standing.  What they will not be doing is removing the trees anytime in the near future.  I doubt this is what the vandal is expecting.

The Figs are visible on the skyline on Wardell Road.  Margaret Street itself has 5 Hill’s Figs as street trees.  They are all growing in ample space in a lawn, which is green & without bare patches, so it must get adequate sunlight. The only concrete is to private garages.  The footpath is old bricks & would be permeable.  There is plenty of room for pedestrians & the trees have been pruned so they do not encroach on the houses.

This is one of the remaining 3 Fig trees on Margaret Street Dulwich Hill. It is very healthy as are the other trees. Compare this tree with the poisoned tree at the bottom of this post. The differences are profound.  Click to enlarge.

The trees make Margaret Street beautiful. If these trees die, it will most definitely have a negative impact by significantly lowering the property value of those close to the vandalized trees. Margaret Street is one of those streets where you go “Ahh…” as you drive or walk through it.  Nice old houses, wide green verges & beautiful Fig trees.  The birds would have loved these trees.  The other Fig trees are developing fruit at the moment.

Both trees have these signs on them.  Click to enlarge

Marrickville Council has attached signs on both sides of the trees asking for any information that will help them catch the vandal.  No Council would be happy to lose major tree assets, especially with the community calling for more street trees. Less than 2 years ago, Newcastle’s Laman Street Figs were valued at $71,420 each. I cannot think of any reason why a tree of similar size & of the same species would be valued any differently because it is in Dulwich Hill & not Newcastle.  So for Margaret Street, that would be around $142,800 worth of trees vandalised.

I could rave on about how selfish this act is. I won’t bother. What some people don’t realize is how steep the fines are for tree vandalism.  This is because it is an illegal act & because trees are valuable assets worth real money.  Street trees belong the whole community, not just the near properties or the street where they are.  The community expects Council to look after them, but how can they if our best trees are poisoned in such a sneaky & thorough manner.

Needless to say the local community is devastated.  They are also very angry.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to see done with the trees & the space where the trees are?  If trees have been vandalized in order to enhance one’s views, some Councils install shipping containers in the their place to defeat the purpose of the vandal: The containers block the desired views for a long time after the trees are gone. We must change the culture where individuals think it is okay to kill public trees.  email your ideas & as long as they are G Rated & I will share them here & pass them on to Council – without your name of course. savingourtrees@gmail.com

I have made a short YouTube video of the trees – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ab-Ij7R-Zk

One of the poisoned Hill’s Figs In Margaret Street Dulwich Hill. This tree has lost almost all its leaves 

The Arborists from the Territory & Municipal Services Urban Forest Management Unit in the ACT shared the following recipe that has helped them bring a 200-year-old Red gum back to life after it was poisoned by a tree vandal.  Someone drilled holes into the tree & filled the holes with straight herbicide.  The tree was showing signs of dying, but the Arborists treated the tree with an antidote & have managed to save the tree.

So what is the antidote?  It’s plain old sugar & you can buy it everywhere.  “The sugar replicates the nourishment produced by the leaves & begins to nurse the tree back to health.”

Recipe –

  • Make a hole every 800mm around the tree to the drip line.
  • Mix 20-30gms sugar in 1-litre of water & pour into your holes over an area of 2 square metres.
  • Repeat the sugar mix for every 2 square metres around the tree & at least to the drip line (the outer leaves of the canopy), though it wouldn’t hurt to go further.
  • Repeat once a month.
  • You should notice new foliage starting to grow.  Keep the treatment up until your tree is healthy once again.
  • Once the tree has regained its health, bake a cake, have a few friends over & celebrate the tree & your good work.

The above recipe was pieced together from the information contained in the following article.  You will see I’ve added a couple of things – the drip line & the duration of treatment.  These are a guess on my part.  If you feel unsure, I would recommend consulting an Arborist.  I have not used this treatment myself & have relied on the information contained in the article.  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/poisoned-red-hill-gum-giant-saved/2185796.aspx

This tree wasn't poisoned. It died of other causes.

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article today about the increase of tree poisoning happening in Sydney, particularly the Inner West.  SoT got a mention.

”Without a doubt, people are removing them because they think it’ll bump up the price of their land even more,” said a local arborist, Kelly Eedy. ”The reality, though, is that the leafy streets tend to be the most sought after ones.”

I hope that this article prompts Marrickville Council to dedicate more resources to fighting tree vandalism.  http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/money-the-root-of-evil-in-poisoned-tree-case-20110603-1fkz8.html

Good looking, tall street trees significantly increase the value of nearby properties. A property that has a leafy canopy will sell for more money than one that doesn't. If you want to increase the value of your property, plant trees.

Marrickville LGA has a new website titled – ‘Poisoned Tree Diary.’  This website is documenting the poisoning of a mature White cedar tree in the back garden of a house at Camperdown.

A few weeks ago a neighbour of mine let me know about this tree poisoning, & so I checked it out & let Marrickville Council know. Having now discovered Council isn’t very willing to act, I’ve decided to start this diary.

For a long time the white cedar has been spectacularly healthy & a delight to look at, & many of our neighbours also love the tree. It was one of the trees I first noticed when I moved in to the street.”

‘Poisoned Tree Diary’ has 3 entries since starting on 5th May 2011.  The last entry shows evidence of how the tree has been poisoned.

It’s great to see a website such as this.  Marrickville Council has recently told the Inner West Courier newspaper that, it does not consider tree poisoning to be a major issue in the area.”  I think Council underestimates the level of concern felt by the community regarding the poisoning & vandalism of trees as well the continued loss of trees through legal & illegal means.  The Inner West Courier article about Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss’s grief over a poisoned tree in Annandale was representative of the feelings of many in the community. https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/poisoning-trees/

Please visit ‘Poisoned Tree Diary’ & have a read.  It would also be good if you could participate in the website’s campaign.

This is our opportunity to say to Marrickville Council that we want them to be more proactive about the issue of poisoning & vandalism of trees across Marrickville LGA.  If prosecuting is difficult, Council can embark on a campaign of community education.  They can make sure that the community is fully aware that poisoning trees, even on private property will not be tolerated. Other Councils in Sydney do, so we know it is appropriate & that it can be done.

The tree poisoning in Camperdown is also on ‘SeeClickFix’ which is another fantastic website.  I will write about this service in the next post.  http://poisonedtreediary.blogspot.com/

The header of the website

Ornamental fruit

1. The UK Department of Transport did a trial across 4 villages in Norfolk England & found that avenues of street trees are just as effective as speed cameras in preventing speeding. The trees were so effective in slowing drivers down that the Road Safety Minister has recommended that all Councils plant rows of street trees as traffic calming measures. Drivers were shown to slow down when they had less peripheral vision.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/8368917/Trees-could-be-alternative-to-speed-cameras.html

2. For the cost of US$400,000, Charlotte City Hall has removed a whole line of very large street trees (I’m guessing 30 metres tall) along Park Road in the Sedgefield neighbourhood Charlotte US.  The trees have been removed to create a footpath even though there is one on the opposite side of the road.  The community has been fighting the removal of these trees for 12 months saying that they want to keep the trees & don’t want or need the footpath.  There is a short news video that shows the road & the massive trees being chopped down. “Government gone wild.” Said one of the residents.  http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=14219091

3. In Chicago, footpaths are an issue. Apparently footpaths are not a given in the US & residents are expected to put in for their cost above & beyond rates I assume.  The vote for Gladys Avenue was15 residents for & 15 against installing a footpath so the Elmhurst city built half a sidewalk.  This article is interesting as the approach to footpaths is very different to that in Australia. http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748704329104576138621423895138-lMyQjAxMTAxMDAwODEwNDgyWj.html

4. In the province of Camrines Sur in the Philippines, 7,000 people broke a tree planting record by planting over 64,000 trees in 15 minutes.  This event shows just what can be done if the resources are available & the people are invited to participate.  The government-backed program aims to plant 12 million trees to reforest logged forests.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/27/tree-planting-record-philippines_n_828462.html

5. A new study of palm oil plantations in Malaysia, Borneo & Sumatra has been published in the March 2011 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The study by researchers from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich & the National University of Singapore said, “palm oil plantations create deforestation & hurt biodiversity.” So far, 2.3 million ha of peatswamp forest has been cleared for palm oil forests & Indonesia says it will double palm oil production by 2020. That’s a huge loss of forests & will have a massive impact on biodiversity. The forests are usually cleared by burning.  This practice is responsible for 15% of global carbon emissions.  http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/03/07/palm-oil-plantations-equal-deforestation/

6. 60 year old Plane trees are being chopped down in Taiping North Road in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China for construction of the  new Metro Line. Reports said that more than 40 trees were topped, but authorities say the trees will be relocated & planted somewhere else.  The previous subway project designed 13 stations for Line 3. More than 600 trees have already been removed, including not only plane trees but also other species.” 10,000 residents supported an online campaign “calling for protection of 60-year-old plane trees along main roads in Nanjing, capital city of East China’s Jiangsu province.” http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-03/16/content_12177125.htm

7. After a massive public outcry the British government backed down on its plans to sell off 258,000 hectares of forests as a means to repay its budget deficit. More than 500,000 signed a petition against the forest sell off. An independent panel has been established to advise on the future direction of forestry in England.  However, there is some concern regarding the members of the panel & the absence of those who fought against selling the forests. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/britain-backs-down-on-sale-of-forests-20110218-1azlq.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/21/panel-public-forests-sell-off

8. In Auburn Alabama two 130-year-old oak trees US at Toomer’s Corner on the edge

Almost hidden Fig in Marrickville

of Auburn University campus were poisoned by a disgruntled 62 year old man, Harvey Updyke Junior.  Mr Updyke, angry that his football team lost a game in November 2010, poisoned the 130-year-old trees with an herbicide.  The Oak trees are on a small strip of land that is considered sacred ground for Auburn football fans. People have used Toomer’s Corner as a meeting place since 1856.  Students & football fans cover the trees & surrounding ground with toilet paper transforming the area into what looks like a snow storm has passed.  The community is devastated about Mr Updyke’s vandalism & every effort is being made to try to save the trees. However, there is not much hope that they will survive.  The outpouring of grief from the community lead to hundreds of items, cards & messages being left at the base of these trees.  These have been removed as part of the treatment to save the trees & will be archived in the University as part of Auburn University’s history.  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_auburn_trees_poisoned

The latest report says the trees are expected to die even tough the soil has been replaced around the trees. In Australia the assessment may well have been that the trees had reached their Safe Useful Life Expectancy & have already been chopped down. Such a difference in response. I hope both trees survive.  http://www.wsfa.com/Global/story.asp?S=14310610

Here is a 1.41 minute video showing the trees & the tradition of celebrating with toilet paper – http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/24232816

9. An article, “What is killing Britain’s street trees?” says that many trees are dying due to disease, heavy use of salt to clear snow & because Councils are over zealous.  “A line of 200-year-old trees were felled in Bradford after one fell down in a storm & apple trees were chopped down in North Yorkshire for fear fruit would fall on people’s heads.” Oh dear.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8333964/What-is-killing-Britains-streeet-trees.html

10.  A 168-acre former farm at Low Burnhall Wood, Durham in England is being transformed into a new forest as part of the efforts of the Woodland Trust.  Volunteers have planted 50,000 trees since March 2010 & have just completed the planting of 13,000 trees. The Woodland Trust aims to have 68,000 new trees planted in this forest by the end of 2012.  Wonderful.  http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/durham/8930360.Thousands_of_trees_planted_at_new_wood/

11. If passed, the Selective Vegetation Removal Bill for New Carolina US will “allow

Palm growing in the body of a Fig tree

outdoor advertisers to replace existing billboards with electronic ones & expand the area around them that could be cleared of trees from 250 feet to 400.” (26 to 121.9 metres)  The advertisers would not need to follow Council rules regarding public trees. One side of the argument is that it will provide jobs, the other is that it will clear cut trees along highways bypassing tree ordinances & strip power from local Councils.  The bill allows for 7 electronic billboards per mile (1.6km).  The Planning Association says there are currently 5,000 billboards that could be made digital.  Digital billboards are able to change their message every few seconds, a boon for advertisers, but shocking for the trees & the environment.  If there is any place where the need for trees is at a premium it is along main roads.  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/03/24/2167196/digital-billboard-fight-turns.html

12. The roots of 4 large Monkey Pod trees Albizia saman declared ‘exceptional trees’ by the Maui County Arborist Committee are affecting a car park surface & a footpath in Maui, Hawai‘i.  Solution: Chop the trees down. Not surprisingly, the community are protesting the removal of the trees. The Maui County Public Works Director was asked why the sidewalk could not be moved instead of axing the trees. “It has crossed my mind.  I don’t think we have ever taken a sidewalk out.” http://www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/502964/Kihei-Monkey-Pod-Tree-Removal-Plans-Cut-Short.html?nav=13

13. Finishing up on a positive note – Bonnie Sitter leading the community campaign to save 5 Elm street trees in Exeter England has won the first round.  The Council has postponed their removal saying they will assess the health of the trees during summer.  Bonnie Sitter said, “One person can make a difference when joined by others who think the same. People who are passionate about beautiful trees have proven it pays to take a stand. . . . I am elated!!!” http://www.lfpress.com/blogs/inthemargin/2011/03/23/17729486.html

New growth on a Banksia

I’ll start this post with a clarification concerning the last post Cambridge Street tree axed today.  I realised over breakfast this morning that I had generalised when I said, Once again, regarding the Cambridge Street tree, the Greens voted to keep the tree.  Once again, the vote to remove the tree comes from the other counselors.” In fact, with regards to the Cambridge Street tree, Independent Councillor Morris Hanna did not vote, as he was not in attendance at that particular meeting.  My apologies to Councillor Hanna.

I have decided to do another post on tree news from around the world.  I am assuming you will find it as interesting as I do & it gives us comparisons in which to measure our own Marrickville Council in regards to trees.

I'd call this street tree 'The Pride of Chatswood' except there are many street trees like this one, enough to be common

I received interest from the UK regarding the last post, where I mentioned that some Australian municipal councils erect billboards in place of trees that have been deliberately vandalised to get better access to a scenic view. Perhaps UK councils are considering using billboards to act as a deterrent to the recent rampant vandalism of trees in their country.

Caitlin from Save Our Figs in Newcastle found the following for me which, though old news, made me roar with laughter.  In 1998 Port Stephens Council on the mid-north coast of NSW placed 2 shipping containers on top of each other on a cliff in place of 20 trees that were illegally cut down to gain access to better views of picturesque Boat Harbour. Post Stephens Council also planted saplings to replace the trees & intended to keep the shipping containers in place for 3 years until the saplings reached a decent size.  Unsurprisingly, the locals were not amused.

To read the full story complete with photo that I wish I could use, click on the following link.  http://www.news.com.au/national/council-blocks-suspected-tree-loppers-view/story-e6frfkwi-1111115863763

News more recent & local: the Cumberland Courier newspaper reported that Hills Shire Council & Castle Hill police are investigating the death of numerous trees on a property in Boundary Road, Box Hill. A grove of 40 year old Gums have died, yet the trees on properties either side are lush & green. The police are involved because they believe the trees were poisoned. It wouldn’t be the first time bush properties have been used for the dumping of chemicals. Causing deliberate harm to trees is called Malicious Damage in police speak & can incur hefty penalties including gaol time if severe enough.  You can read the full story here – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/what-s-killing-box-hill-s-trees/

a row of recent street tree planting in Chatswood. Note how close together they are planted

In Seattle USA, a dozen 50 year old Fir trees both on private & public land were chopped down in the middle of the night to make way for better views.  Seattle doesn’t require a permit to chop down trees on private land unless on slopes or along the shore.  It calls itself the Emerald City, yet Seattle’s percentage of tree canopy has dropped from 40% in 1972 to 18% currently.

Seattle is trying to regreen the city to the first target of 30% cover.  In 1999 the budget for Parks & Recreation was US$250,000.  In 2010 it is US750,000 rising to US$1.2 million in 2011.  This is serious tree planting money & I would be interested to learn of Marrickville Council’s budget for tree planting.  Perhaps it would be fairer to compare the budget for City of Sydney Council instead.

The same article reminds readers of when a senior Seattle Judge was fined US$500,000 after he was found guilty of illegally chopping down 120 trees in a public park below his house.  The trees obscured his view of Lake Washington.  Can you imagine chopping down 120 trees in the middle of the night?  He must have been strong  & fit as none of the men I know would be up to this job.  No words of his position as a Senior Judge & bastion of society.

The article has other news including links & is well worth reading.  You can read it at the following link – http://www.seattlepi.com/local/320177_trees18.html

Tree news is a fairly recent phenomenon.  It used to be that only the most profound or shocking tree news was reported, but in recent months a great deal of tree related news is being written in the papers & on the internet.  This post is again too long so I will post the second part of recent news soon.

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