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Around 5-6 years ago, Marrickville Council planted some red flowering gums along the verge on Livingstone Road near & in front of Marrickville Park. At the time, I was very surprised as I think Council rarely plants flowering gums. Imagine if the streets were full of flowering gums instead of those awful weed trees Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii), with their hundreds of thousands of seeds per tree. Flowering gums come in orange, hot pink, soft pink & red flowers & are food producing for nectar-eating wildlife. They are a short stature tree & perfect for under powerlines.
Unfortunately, Council was ripped off as these trees were the ones that only grow to 1 – 1.5 metres & over a very long time. I do remember there was talk about removing them in one council meeting, but that did not go any further.
Every year these trees would burst into flower & look terrific. Every time I passed I looked for them to assess their growth.
Last year Council planted six Queensland Brushbox trees outside the tennis courts on Livingstone Road in-between the flowering gums. I thought this was wonderful. Brushbox trees grow tall, look lovely & have a great canopy. This is the side of the road without powerlines so they could grow & eventually could create a visual link to the mature Brushbox trees in Marrickvile Park.
Unfortunately, only three of the newly planted Brushbox trees survived. It may have been the extraordinary heat over the summer. Who knows.
A few weeks ago I saw that the biggest red flowering gum, a quite substantial shrub really, had been vandalised. Someone had twisted & ripped off all but one branch. It must have taken them a great deal of strength & energy to do this because the branches were quite thick. Yet another public tree lost to an antisocial vandal who is against the public interest.
If I feel frustrated at the amount of tree vandalism that happens in the former Marrickville municipality, I think Council must be either pulling their hair out or numb with fatigue witnessing the destructive things the happen in public spaces.
There are some in our community who go out of their way to destroy any beauty in public spaces. They would not pick up rubbish or pull weeds out from the verge or footpath as “this is council’s job,” but they think they have a right to vandalise or destroy a street tree because it is in front of their house or planted in a place they think a tree should not be. I have heard people express this sentiment a lot & I’ve never understood the contradictory personal ideology that creates it.
I scoffed when I read today, the following statement in a 2015 article in The Conversation about tree vandalism (http://bit.ly/2n5Ixq7) – “Larger councils with 50-100,000 trees have somewhere between five and 10 trees killed each year.”
At last count in 2012 the former Marrickville municipality had 22,608 street trees & I doubt this number has changed much. I can say with complete confidence that at least 10 street trees are vandalised & killed each year just in the suburb of Marrickville, not the whole former Marrickville Council municipality.
Everyone must have read the Chinese proverb – “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
It takes at least a decade for most newly planted trees to start providing any real benefits in terms of shade, carbon sequestration, pollution uptake & oxygen output. The twenty years is needed to allow the tree time to grow into a decent size.
Anyway, Council has removed the three dead trees & the vandalised gum. When looking at my photos tonight I realised that I had a photo of another flowering gum in this particular block & that too has been removed. Maybe it was also vandalised. So that is five dead or vandalised trees in what is the space of 40-metres. Not bad hey?
I wrote a long list of reasons why I thought people vandalised trees here – http://bit.ly/2mCPnY8
The Inner West Council planted a street tree in a pocket of grass in Myrtle Street Marrickville. A tree was much needed at this location because it is bare & dare I say ugly.
I was very happy they planted at this location. Then the tree had several branches snapped off. The tree grew more branches & the tree was vandalised again. I started to doubt that this was a random act.
The tree’s desire to live was strong, so it grew some more & started to look strong & lush.
I went by the tree today & its leaves are dry & crisp. Its thin branches are still alive showing that whatever was done to this poor tree happened recently.
Unfortunately, this tree is dying. To me it appears that some sort of chemical was fed to it to make sure this determined tree would not rise up again.
It is beyond my comprehension why people rob the community & the wildlife of street trees. One tree may not matter much, but we have an urban forest classified as ‘poor’ in terms of percentage of canopy cover. We need trees just to break even in terms of the norm in Sydney. We also need trees for good public health & we desperately need trees in terms of climate change.
We need more trees in Marrickville & throughout the old Marrickville municipality. We need bigger, more shade-producing trees.
2016 was the third year in a row of record-breaking heat. “The average global temperature last year  reached about 1.1°C above the pre-industrial era, which has brought us extremely close to the 1.5°C target established at the historical December 2015 Paris climate summit.”
1.1°C may not seem much, but you only have to have been in Sydney this past month to experience what a heatwave feels like. Heatwaves & extreme weather events are all part of this global rise in temperature. The Arctic is the warmest on record, sea ice is melting at alarming speed, coral reefs are bleaching, the oceans are heating up…. There is more, but you get the picture.
Now here is where is gets really interesting. “Australia is especially at risk as we are 8°C hotter than the world average” http://bit.ly/2kfCKAD
We cannot keep relying on air-conditioning. One day there will be too many of us using too much power for the system to cope with & we won’t be able to turn on the air-con. Then people will die. Perhaps thousands of people. Death in numbers like this has happened many times before.
We won’t be able to easily acclimatise to the heat either. The following is part of a summary of research titled, ‘Limitations to Thermoregulation and Acclimatization Challenge Human Adaptation to Global Warming’ published in 2015. They knew then that it will be difficult for the human race to adapt. Thousands of us are likely to die in each heatwave event. That will be a devastating experience for many.
“Human thermoregulation and acclimatization are core components of the human coping mechanism for withstanding variations in environmental heat exposure. Amidst growing recognition that curtailing global warming to less than two degrees is becoming increasing improbable, human survival will require increasing reliance on these mechanisms. The projected several fold increase in extreme heat events suggests we need to recalibrate health protection policies and ratchet up adaptation efforts.” You can read the whole paper here for free – http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/7/8034
I hope the Inner West Council plant another tree at this location. Tree vandals cannot be the deciders on how the rest of the community live, their health, the level of pollution they live with, their ability to have a beautiful suburb, how cool their streets are or whether the wildlife can have habitat & food. The culture must change. The streets belong to all.
As I post this I am listening to the weather forecast on the TV news. They are forecasting a heatwave two days from now on Tuesday. That will be the third heatwave for Sydney in 2017 & it is only January.
Marrickville Council has given notice of their intention to remove a Narrow-leafed Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) adjacent 49 Gould Avenue Lewisham. The tree is actually on Morton Street. It had no Notification of Removal sign attached.
They give the following reasons for removal –
- “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood & is in an advance state of decline.
- The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”
I feel very sad about this tree because half the canopy is alive & filled with flowers. As a result, it is also filled with feeding singing birds. It will be a big loss for local biodiversity.
Council says they will replace this tree with a Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) before September this year.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 6th May 2016.
Kudos to Burwood Council for attaching a large metal yellow sign saying, “This tree was vandalised” on a street tree in Claremont Road Burwood Heights. The ten-metre trunk has had all branches removed for safety & just left there.
I assume Burwood Council has left the tree in situ so not to reward the vandal by removing the tree. Every day this tree trunk & sign is seen by hundreds of people who drive by, further educating the public. It is hard to catch tree vandals, but not too hard to make them live with their actions.
Claremont Road has a number of beautiful tall trees that look wonderful. I think they are Tallowwood trees (Eucalyptus microcorys). This one stands alone – a poor sentinel to the ignorance & selfishness of someone in the community. I hope they & others like them come to understand the benefit of trees for the whole community sooner rather than later. Everyone loses when public trees are vandalised. You don’t need to be living close to the tree to be impacted.
A Sydney Red gum is the latest tree to be poisoned for views in Carradah Park in Larkin Street Waverton. This is despite the effort to which North Sydney Council went to work with the community to choose suitable planting sites for the trees.
Nature-hating vandals have killed 19 of 20 trees planted in 2004 in this park. That is phenomenal disrespect for the trees, the environment, the rate-payers & their neighbours.
It is wonderful to see a local council take tree vandalism seriously. No namby-pamby utterances like, “this is a disgrace” & then quietly chopping down the vandalised tree to replace with the hope that the new tree is not vandalised or worse – giving in to the vandal & not planting a replacement tree at all.
I applaud North Sydney Council for taking action that strongly affirms the community’s disapproval of tree vandalism.
They have installed a big ugly sign in eye-catching red black & white with large letters saying, “WARNING. Trees in this area have been willfully destroyed by selfish vandals.” The sign goes on to offer a $10,000 reward for information & also warns that if convicted, the vandal faces a fine of up to $1.1 million.
The council has also left the dead trees in-situ. Let the vandal look at the great view through a big ugly red, black & white sign & a dead tree. I can guarantee this irks their sensibilities every time the look out over the glorious view of Sydney Harbour. I hope the council doesn’t cave in when requests start to come in to remove the sign & the dead trees. To have meaning, both should stay for years. Dead trees can be made safe & they offer enormous benefits to wildlife, so there is not reason not to retain them.
You can read the article & see a photo of tree & sign here –http://bit.ly/1Ku8GJI
The headline in the Daily Telegraph on 20th October 2015 says, “New trees planted by Marrickville Council have been poisoned, but hard to prosecute vandals.” See – http://bit.ly/1GjpQHX
The article says that “of 550 newly planted trees, 40 have already been poisoned.”
That is a loss of $40,000 to the ratepayers of Marrickville municipality.
It is also a loss to our collective future in terms of streetscape beauty, better mental & physical health, happier kids, cooler streets, more pleasant walking experience, birds in the area, pollution uptake & better air quality. Trees bring more benefits & you can read some of these in the page called ‘100 tree facts’ above.
This year Marrickville Council has been attaching a bright orange sign to the stake of vandalised trees that says, “This tree has been vandalised.” I applaud Council for this initiative. Unfortunately, I have seen more vandalised trees that do not have the orange sign attached probably because Council has not seen them yet. I think another 20 trees could comfortably be added to the vandalised list.
Local resident Justine Langford was interviewed for the article & to my mind she hit the nail on the head when she said, “….there is so much development in the area & we are losing a lot of trees. The population is about to explode with all the new flats, so any new greenery is most welcome and also animals are losing habitats when trees are knocked down.”
She also suggested that Marrickville Council engage in better community consultation before any tree is planted by negotiating with residents regarding what trees they like & answer any of their questions. She felt this approach might prevent newly planted street trees from being destroyed. I agree with Ms Langford. The current way is not working. The problem is more community consultation means more cost to Council, which likely means less budget for tree planting, & once again, the greater community loses out to the tree vandals.
Council says they have done extensive community consultation with the formation of the Street Tree Master Plan passed last year. It’s true. To their credit they did, but many people (including myself) are not happy with the species chosen for their street & that may push some residents to take matters into their own hands.
I would guess that more than 90% of the community did not read the Street Tree Master Plan, so when one tree species is planted & they prefer an another, then the trouble starts. The Master Plan was a huge document & one needed to have knowledge of tree species to fully understand the document. I spent a great deal of time googling Latin names to find out about the species planned.
It is almost a given that if I start photographing a street tree someone will race out of their house & ask if I am from Council. When I say no, they start telling me how much they hate the tree I am photographing. I have spoken to a significant number of residents about their street trees & can say with absolute confidence that deciduous trees are hated the most, despite the sunshine the lack of leaves in winter. Why? – because leaf litter makes them angry. They hate leaves all over their garden, over the footpath & in the gutter. They also hate fallen leaves on their car.
Community consultation conducted by Marrickville Council in 2013 revealed that a whopping 20% did not want street trees in the Marrickville Local Government Area. Not just their street, but the whole of the municipality! This attitude is what Marrickville Council has to overcome & it needs more than articles in the newsletter ‘Marrickville Matters,’ even though these are good.
I suspect that hotter streets & homes caused by climate change will help change attitudes, but by then, Council will have to do what other local councils across the world do & that is ask residents to regularly water new trees well beyond the 2-years needed for newly planted trees. I doubt that will go down well.
I want to say to the vandals – stop being so selfish! You bought the land that your home sits on, but the verge is not yours. It belongs to the ratepayers of Marrickville and Marrickville Council works on their behalf to make this municipaility a better place to live & they are doing a pretty good job of it. Do something to make it beautiful, not something that destroys beauty.
I was extremely interested to watch the uproar around 3-4 years ago when Council canvassed the idea to save $2 million per year by ceasing to mow the verges, except for those residents who were unable to for some reason. A sufficiently large percentage of residents did not want to mow the 5-10 metre strip (on average) in front of their house, so the idea was dropped.
Council is expected to mow, remove litter/weeds/leaves & to make the streetscape beautiful. Yet some think that they can decide that a tree should not be planted outside their property or in the next street at the expense of everyone else. I don’t understand this.
Each time a person vandalises a tree, they are stealing from the community & preventing life improvements for future generations. It takes a long time before a tree grows sufficiently to be making a positive impact on air quality, carbon sequestration, shady beautiful streets etc. Marrickville Council’s tree planting budget only goes so far & it might not cover replacing the vandalised tree the following year. A year is a long time when you consider how long it takes trees to grow.
Another kind of tree vandalism is when the street tree is pruned so that it never grows & this is very common across our municipality. A 1.2 metre or less street tree will never produce benefits to people or to wildlife.
What to do? I don’t know, other than embark of a huge & costly campaign to educate the community about climate change & the need for trees, plus the benefits trees bring.
I’d start using street art in high traffic places to provide a message about the environment. This has been done successfully by the City of Melbourne with their storm water program. It is so successful, tourist trails have been organised for people to see the artwork. See – http://bit.ly/1jC7OXd
Sydney Water recently engaged artists to paint the walls of their buildings along the Cooks River. All the images are blue representing the water & they all contain large images of waterbirds. Immediately the viewer is led to appreciate the river & the life that lives along it.
Canterbury Council attaches large steel signs to the tree that says, “this tree was vandalized” & they leave the signs there for 5-years or more. This is a more confrontational approach, but I agree that ugliness is a great deterrent for any future vandalism. Overseas local councils put a shipping container or some kind of structure in place of the tree & leave these for 5-10 years. Our community should not need these approaches.
I came across yet another vandalised street tree in Marrickville yesterday. This one is in Riverside Crescent. Another $1,000 of ratepayers money wasted.
I was pleased to see that Marrickville Council has attached signs saying that this tree has been vandalised. The more attention given to this kind of destruction of public assets, the better.
What is wrong with people? Why do they think it is their right to vandalise public trees? Why do they think it is okay to remove or vandalise street trees that the community has paid for?
Some facts –
- The verge is owned by Marrickville Council.
- The street trees are Council property, which also means they are the property of the ratepayers, as Council essentially works for the community to make our lives better. However, just because they are collectively owned, does not mean that it is legal for a person to remove or willfully damage a public tree.
- Each street tree costs a whopping $1,000 to get into the ground. Larger trees probably cost more. Therefore, tree vandalism is stealing from the community.
- Marrickville municipality’s urban forest canopy is currently deemed ‘poor.’ It will take considerably longer for Council to increase our urban forest if people keep vandalizing & killing public trees.
- The beauty of our streetscapes depends largely on street trees & landscaping. While tiles on footpaths do make looking down nicer for pedestrians, they cannot be seen unless standing on top of them or from nearby.
Most people do not like ugly streetscapes. Marrickville Council is working to improve our streetscapes by removing concrete, creating verge gardens & by planting street trees. We all benefit from this.
Please grow a conscience & stop vandalizing public trees. They are not your property to do with as you please.
Disappointing to see more tree vandalism happening in Marrickville, but great to see that Marrickville Council has put up a sign on a street tree in Sabastapol Street calling it for what it is – tree vandalism.
Another street tree has been vandalised in Newington Road.
There has been gradual vandalism of two street trees on Victoria Road Marrickville, opposite Calvert Street. I’ve watched with interest over the last year or so how these trees have had branches repeatedly snapped off.
Finally the tree vandal decided enough was enough. No more pretending & so one of the trees is totally destroyed. Unfortunately the other tree victim had managed to grow taller, so destroying this one would have been a bit harder. Maybe it will be attacked next month.
Just across the road in Calvert Street is a fantastic example of a tree vandal armed with hand-saw. Every branch has been sawn off. I scraped the bark & the tree is very green & alive. Such a crying shame as a tree of 3-years has been destroyed.
Calvert Street itself has been an epicenter of tree vandalism much to the dismay of a number of residents. Council planted 23 street trees along Calvert Street in 2012, yet a number were destroyed within a few short months. Council again replanted. I will go & count the surviving trees soon. It will be interesting to see how many remain.
At $1,000 per street tree planting, tree vandalism is costly to the community. Destroying a street tree also robs the community of the beauty, amenity, shade, pollution uptake, oxygen & cooling effects the tree would have provided as it matured.
As far as I am concerned, every tree in Marrickville LGA impacts on my quality of life, as it does on the life of every other resident. A street tree does not have to be directly outside my house to improve my life. As I drive, ride or walk around the municipality I am affected by how the streets look. If the streets are bare, full of hard surfaces, weeds, litter etc, this impacts on all of us.
However, leafy green streets make everyone feel better, even if they are not consciously aware of this. There have been numerous research studies that show this to be true. People feel richer, happier & healthier when the streets are green & leafy.
A study released in 2015 of 31,000 residents of Toronto, Canada, found that people who lived in areas with higher street tree density had a far better perception of their own health. There was less reported mental illnesses, obesity, hypertension & other cardio-metabolic conditions compared with residents living in areas with fewer trees. See – http://www.nature.com/articles/srep11610
They also felt $10,000 richer when there were lots of street trees.
“We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger. We also find that having 11 more trees in a city block, on average, decreases cardio-metabolic conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger.”
The benefits of more trees were observed for areas within a radius of 5-kms, meaning the street trees in Camperdown, still has an impact on a resident who lives in Marrickville for example. So every time someone vandalises a street tree, the whole community is impacted.
Marrickville Council planted four new trees in the lovely Morton Park in Lewisham only to have someone come along & vandalise two of the trees. That’s a minimum of $2,000 of rate-payers money down the drain.
With our urban forest being only 16.3% canopy cover, we desperately need more trees. Marrickville Council cannot increase our urban forest & beautify our municipality if people continue to kill public trees.
The vandalised trees were planted beside the children’s playground & the barbecue. They would have provided shade & beauty for park users, as well as more habitat for wildlife.
I think it is great that Council put up a sign beside the trees rather than ignore the incident. For the time they remain, they will educate people.
I hope the two other new trees remain untouched.