The humble tuckeroo

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When I first came across tuckeroos I wasn’t in a receptive or  tolerant frame of mind: I saw them lining the bottom half of Tyrrell Street in the places where figs had been removed to make work on the substation upgrade easier and cheaper because they were ‘dangerous’.

Come to think of it, I still wonder if Energy Australia chipped in for the cost of removing those trees: after all, whenever I read about tree costs on council’s website – and it’s presumably the same with all local councils – everything costs a bomb.

Did I write about my whining email (yes, another one) to councillors about calling for tenders to carry out tree work? Council officers estimated that there was a need for $427000 worth of tree work that at times required the use of  large equipment that council didn’t own (and presumably couldn’t possibly have hired) in the next financial year that could not be done by people already on staff.

This is in spite of having sent all their tree staff off to Kurri TAFE’s wonderful arboricultural course. Boggles the mind. Imagine the avenues of streets planned for desertification. Sorry: we can plant – you guessed it: tuckeroos.

This picture is of a row of lillypillies behind the row of apartment/townhouses on the foreshore – and the Crowne Plaza hotel that creates a bigger barrier to the harbour than the rail line ever did.

There was a lillypilly planted outside our backdoor in the house I grew up in and I thought it was a lovely tree. I promise I don’t hate lillypillies. 

The ones in the picture have to be ten years old so it’s no wonder they’re favoured by council. They do seem slow for an Australian tree and they always seem to end up as a ball-on-a-stick sort of tree – just think: there’s a horticultural term for that. I’ll astound myself one day by knowing all of those terms.

 You can’t stand and get shelter from a  40 degree C day in the middle of summer from a lillypilly. You can feel better by seeing something green and you can be pleased seeing birds eat the fruit (I assume birds eat lillypilly fruit) but you won’t get shelter or shade.

The street where this picture was taken is a shaded wind tunnel in winter. I’ll have to take note of how much sun those poor trees get in the afternoon or at other times of the year.

Tuckeroos when looked after have a lovely shape and beautiful foliage; but I worry about how they get on when squished together.

There are about seven trees on the southern side of Tyrrell street which have no room to spread out.

More work for arborists down the track when some have to be taken out.

What forethought.

Such forward thinking is something to be proud of.

I presume the intention is to have the trees grow like the trees in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris: ‘pleached’, forming a kind of hedge.

Actually, I lie. I don’t think there’s any intention at all. I think it cost less to make one hole in the ground rather than two or three.

I’m not sure if these trees were planted by the same contractors as the ones who let the first choice of street tree die in the street: I wonder how much they charged for that?

When I visited Sydney last I noticed trees in some streets (many of which are wind tunnels) seemed to be trained to be skinny so maybe it’s the fashion. I wouldn’t have thought we could afford high maintenance trees here, though.

My biggest disappointment with tuckeroos came on the weekend when I was looking at the Waste Knot Want Knot exhibition. (Huge sincere congratulations to council for putting this on each year.

There were loads of people looking at the works, walking in the sun beside the harbour. Lots of families and kids and dogs being walked.

And the works themselves were fun and clever. I wish I’d had more time. I couldn’t get anyone at chez moi to feel energetic enough to get out of their PJs and come with me and we had something else on that day so I only saw half of it. My loss.)

Only three out of ten tuckeroos were perfectly healthy; the others had some kind of powdery mildew-looking thing happening.

This is the worst one. Presumably it’s humidity, being planted in front of a hedge, little air circulation. What do I know.

Maybe it doesn’t weaken the tree. We can always hope. I’ll ring council.

July’s council meetings agenda page is still blank.

More soon. Cheers.  Home

What the tuckeroos replaced in Tyrrell Street

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