Trees are an integral and highly valued part of Boroondara’s natural and designed heritage. With more than 100,000 street and park trees, we need to ensure we can manage their health and safety now and in future, for the benefit of our community and the environment.
Over 75 per cent of our trees are now mature, with many planted during the inter-war period between 1920 and 1940, when housing developments were expanding and nature strip trees became common features.
With some trees entering into the decline phase of their lifespan, and in many cases, having outgrown their planting sites, we need to manage their risk and plan for their progressive renewal through removal and replacement.
Our older trees are also more prone to the increased stresses caused by changes in our urban environment and warming climate. The impacts on trees, like mandatory pruning to meet electric line clearance obligations, or damage to roots during works on essential services (gas, water, communication and other underground services), pose major risks for the health of the tree. We are working to tighten protection conditions surrounding our trees to limit any impact during infrastructure work by external service providers and our own.
To ensure we maintain our green, leafy streets and parks, we are implementing strategies to renew older trees that pose a safety risk, while ensuring minimal loss of landscape amenity by:
- providing infill plantings on streets, where gaps in nature strips exist
- replacing poor performing trees on streets where the impact of removal is on a smaller scale, particularly if the street also lacks a coherent planting theme
- staggering larger scale tree renewal over a three-year to five-year time-frame, or longer as appropriate, based on the street character to minimise impacts of mature tree loss
- ensuring a more diverse mix of tree species across our streets and parks, to build resilience to climate change
- broadening the mix of tree ages within a location, to spread future tree renewal over time.
These actions will all take place through consultation with residents directly impacted, and the broader community. Residents will also have the opportunity to be involved in the tree selection process ahead of renewal, which will consider:
- suitability to site — available growing space, soil type, water-holding capacity, light availability, and overall location, including assessment of challenges to tree growth due to above and below-ground infrastructure
- contribution to street amenity — leafy canopy and other aesthetic values such as bark, flowers, fruit; and fit with the character of the neighbourhood
- habitat value — the provision of trees that attract insects, birds and other native wildlife, and the recognition that this can have positive and negative impacts.
Trees are an integral and highly valued part of Boroondara’s natural and designed heritage.
With more than 100,000 street and park trees, we need to ensure we can manage their health and safety now and in future, for the benefit of our community and the environment.