Coronavirus update 13 March 2020

COVID-19 restrictions: what's closed and what's open.

Some of our services may be closed or have different hours for the public holiday on Friday 23 October.

We know our residents value the trees in our streets and parks. Our trees give Boroondara its special leafy character and provide much-needed shade and environmental benefits.

Trees have a limited lifespan. As they get older they can start to damage private and public property and infrastructure. Unhealthy trees are more likely to collapse.

We are developing a tree renewal program to help address this problem. Removing and replacing unsuitable trees over time will ensure we continue to enjoy green, leafy streets and parks. 

We will always engage with local residents before undertaking planned tree renewal work.

Why we need to renew trees

During the development of our Tree Strategy 2017-2027, we identified a number of risks and threats to our existing street and park trees.

We have many older trees

More than 75 per cent of our street and park trees are now at a mature age, meaning their growth phase has declined, or will soon. 

Older trees are more prone to stress caused by:

  • climate change
  • mandatory pruning to meet electric line clearance obligations
  • damage to roots during works on private and public infrastructure and essential services (such as gas, water, communication)

Older trees often outgrow their planting sites, which can cause damage to private and public infrastructure.

Our existing tree population is not diverse enough

Although our streets are home to many tree species and cultivated varieties (cultivars), we do have large numbers of the same species. These include Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), Plane trees (Platanus species and cultivars), and Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus).

A lack of tree diversity increases the risk that many trees could die as a result of a pest or disease or climatic event.

How we renew trees

We have a number of approaches for renewing trees. These will minimise the impact of changes to the streetscapes and parks, and our main method will be ‘the right tree’ approach. This means we will be choosing ‘the right tree, for the right place, at the right time, with the right management’. 

New infill plantings 

In some streets, we will begin tree renewal by planting new trees of the same or a different species where there are already gaps in nature strips. 

Small scale removal and replacement

If there are only a few poorly performing trees scattered throughout the street, we will remove and replace them. Replacement will take into account the character of the street and the outcome of community consultation.    

Larger scale progressive tree renewal

In streets with a high proportion of declining trees, we will stagger larger scale tree removals over a 3 to 5 year time frame, or longer if needed following community consultation. These decisions will be based on ‘the right tree’ approach, and will consider:

  • the street character
  • age, size and diversity of trees 
  • impact of tree loss on shade, screening and habitat   

Consulting with you on tree renewal

We will consult with you before undertaking tree renewal work. 

New trees and species types will be selected from the ‘the right tree’ approach, and considered in consultation with surrounding residents. The tree selection process considers: 

  • The suitability of the site, including available growing space, soil type, water-holding capacity, light availability, and overall location. 
  • Contribution to street amenity, including leafy canopy, bark, flowers, fruit and fit with the character of the neighbourhood.
  • Habitat value. The contribution the tree makes to attracting insects, birds and other native wildlife. We recognise this can have positive and negative impacts.

Benefits of tree renewal 

We will replace trees in a way that does not diminish the amenity and character of a street and our neighbourhoods. Some of the benefits of tree renewal include: 

Increased species richness

Having a broad mix of species helps build resilience and reduce risks to our urban forest such as climate change, pests and diseases. Streets won’t necessarily become a jumble of species, but there will be different solutions for different types of streets and it will form part of our discussion with the community at the time of renewal.

In parks, species richness is generally greater, but we will also consider this factor in new plantings. 

Broader mix of tree ages 

By introducing tree replacement gradually, we will spread the need for future tree renewal over a longer time frame. This will also assist in making the project financially viable. 

Increased awareness 

As we build the next generation of shade trees with a tolerance for our future climate, we will be raising awareness in the local neighbourhood on the importance of their trees. 

Help us with tree renewal

Do you have a vacant naturestrip? Request a tree.

More information

For more information, please call 9278 4444 or email [email protected].
 

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