A Gallic engineering approach to tree safety


Even intelligent arborists seem to obsess about how our veteran trees need replacing. They seem to me to go straight from the faintest hint of wear and tear in a mature tree to planning its instant removal and replacement, usually with something less than majestic.  

I’m heartened when I see a young Moreton Bay fig at Honeysuckle or Port Jackson figs (I think) at the little piece of green that passes for Birdwood Park these days,  and the young Hill’s figs in Linwood are lovely but in general we seem to choose somewhat tedious street trees. Queensland Brush Boxes have been so over-used, and planted under powerlines so they rarely achieve their true shape. Bottlebrushes have beautiful flowers but the rest of the year they are fairly ordinary and Tuckeroos occasionally look great, but they’re not a patch on a fig. 

We talk about new methods of planting to avoid roots being invasive, but we seem to choose easy trees rather than do more thorough work with more beautiful tree specimens. 

Brush Box after 'shaping', presumably by Energy Australia

Brush Box safe from 'shaping' for some years

It's great that birds like these because they have nothing else going for them

I deliberately chose a scrawny example of a Tuckeroo

So if there’s little hope of wonderful street tree choice we need more emphasis on saving what we have. 

Here’s a tree I saw in France a while back: 

Look at that high-tech engineering keeping people safe from death by tree

This tree was allegedly planted in the early 19th century by Napoleon and stands outside a wonderful gallery/museum in Tours in the Loire Valley.  Its poor old branches are held up by wooden poles.That would scare our public liability-phobes on Council. (I have to keep reminding myself that Laman Street is unlikely to have much to do with safety.) 

Obviously the attitude of the French to heritage is very different from ours.We could really learn from this.



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