Beautiful Spring Sunday 21.11.2010


If I were a plane tree between Darby and Perkins Streets in Newcastle, I would be feeling distinctly nervous. The plane trees that remain on King Street are now surrounded by new little tidy non-plane trees in red cages on both east and west: I assume the time remaining for the lovely old ones in the middle (young by European standards) is limited.

Months ago council felled two twenty-year-old plane trees in King Street with the minimum of notice to residents because, we were told, their roots were blocking drains. Looking back, it was a little breath of fresh air to be told that infrastructure damage was the reason for the tree removal, rather than being fed spin information about tree hazards. You can see the pictures of that morning here (along with an appalling ad from photobucket: it may finally be time to ‘upgrade’ to ‘pro’ but whatever…).

That day we were told that the rest of King Street was going to be ‘done up’ and the council’s website claimed that plane trees were going to be planted, but if what’s been planted is a plane tree, I’ll find a hat and eat it. I think the new ones are pear trees: please correct me if I’m wrong. They seem to be popular here as well as in other cities. Gone are the days of the big tree to give you shade and intercept stormwater.

I know these are young trees but when fully grown, if Maitland Rd in Islington is an example, they won’t be a lot taller than these. I read yesterday that large trees soak up more than 75% of stormwater. Good luck with these little cuties.

This is from an article on the website Sustainable Cities Collective which is a mine of information:

 Urban trees are now understood to be a central part of green infrastructure systems and provide a range of benefits. They reduce the urban heat island effect, manage stormwater, and provide shade that lengthens the life of materials. In the summer, shadier streets also means lower neighborhood temperatures, which can reduce air pollution that increase asthma rates…

MacDonagh said larger, older trees are far more valuable than younger ones, so work needs to be done to preserve these and use new techniques to enable younger trees to stay in place longer. Citing data, he argued that a 30-inch diameter breast height (DBH) tree provides 70 times the ecological benefits of a 3-inch DBH tree. For example, a large tree intercepts 79 percent of rain hitting the ground, providing the “best green infrastructure you can find.”

Imagine the benefits of a mature Hill’s fig.

More soon. Cheers. Home


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2 Responses to “Beautiful Spring Sunday 21.11.2010”

  1. treeology Says:

    Whilst I strongly support this web site and its vigilant action against Laman Street Fig tree removal, I would like to add some more information on this issue of King St Plane Tree removal.

    When two plane trees were removed, the council used their stump removal crew to grind out the stumps. I was on the job and on site with Council staff on these days and saw FIRST HAND what the issues were. Directly adjacent to the location of both trees was a large (approximately 100 mm diameter) gas pipe. Tree roots had grown under and over and around this pipe as the tree had been planted about 1 metre from the gas main. Tree roots had penetrated stormwater pipes and had caused these to be completely blocked. Kerbing had been raised so that rainwater had caused a traffic hazard on King St.

    These are the facts.

    Some years ago I was made aware of the actual damage a gas leak and the ensuing explosion that occured in Germany from a Plane Tree root less than 40 mm diameter that killed 5 people and destroyed the buildings adjacent to the tree.

    I dont work for council or have any personal vested interest in dealing with council other than assessing what they do occasionally.

    I have had 25 years experience as an arborist and have made it my life’s work to enjoy working with trees. Sadly, that means killing them at times. I hate seeing trees cut down and I hate having to give the death nell to trees but it is a reality that they sometimes have to go.

    These new trees that have been planted have been placed in specific tree pits, with the use of root barrier, root cells and are highly engineered to ensure the new trees have a more useful life than the 20 years the old ones did. Plane trees are beautiful trees but not so long ago many Sydney siders began the No-More-Plane -Trees campaign because of the health problems people seem to suffer from this species. The red tree guards are designed to give the trees some protection from senseless vandalism and vehicle damage. The planting of those two trees likley cost around $30, 000 to the community and prevented a situation that could have caused severe property damage and loss of life.

    In fact, has this web site ever driven out aroundMaryland or Tarro or Beresfield lately and seen the hundreds of trees that have been planted by NCC in situations where there were none. The planting program and the Urban tree maintenance programs are commendable in their urban renewal. Lets balance the loss and replacement of a small number of trees with some refreshing and happy thoughts that the larger community is going to live in a leafy wonderful environment.

    These are the facts as I see it.

  2. Poppy Says:

    Whether or not Council are planting trees elsewhere is irrelevant. It is not a trade off for tree removal somewhere else & anyway, they are supposed to be planting trees.

    Some risks elsewhere are irrelevant to the case of those particular Plane trees. For the comment to go on talking about risks is purely alarmist & sets a tone against large canopy trees that are becoming more & more essential in an era of climate change.

    There may well have been good reason for those particular Plane trees to go, but to replace with Ornamental Pear trees is a poor substitute as these trees don’t provide anywhere near the shade or other benefits that a Plane tree does.

    From an obviously learned comment maker, I would have expected to read something about using a different species of tree & to be pushing the benefits of increasing the canopy.

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