A Happy Arborist’s Report 2.12.2010


In July I wrote about an Avenue of Honour in a town called O’Connell near Bathurst where the future of the trees were threatened by road widening.

I had assumed the trees were doomed because they didn’t have enough support from the local council. I was sent a link this week  to a TV story about it from 2008 shown on A Current Affair which prompted me to look up how the trees were going.

The RTA’s website has a report by arborists from the Amenity Horticulture Research Unit (great name) which gives one hope. The executive summary says in part

 ‘The proposed road rehabilitation work in the avenue involves a minor realignment of the line of the road, widening the sealed carriageway from its existing width to seven metres and the installation of concrete longitudinal drains one metre wide on each side. To minimise disturbance the existing sealed surface will be broken up but left in place, with the new road surface built up to an average depth of 250 millimetres above the old level.

Planted over the period 1925 to 1927, the Desert Ash trees comprising the avenue are now approaching the last quarter of their life expectancy of about 120 years. Field work showed that the total number of trees has declined in the last 12 years and that the overall condition has deteriorated sharply. This decline is attributed primarily to natural causes as the trees move into the over-mature phase of their life cycle.
Detailed studies of the soil conditions and root distribution of the trees showed that unlike most trees the main lateral roots are deep seated and send feeder roots both upwards and downwards to explore the available soil volume. Under-road investigations showed the presence of feeder roots down to at least 2.56 metres (the limit of our equipment).
The overall conclusion about the impact of the road rehabilitation is that the proposed design will have negligible impact on the health or longevity of the Desert Ash trees, provided reasonable care is exercised during construction.

The report concludes with recommendations for a full replanting program with Desert Ash trees propagated from selected trees on the site to ensure a continuation of the O’Connell Anzac Memorial Avenue, well into the 22nd century.’ 

It’s heartening to know that not all arborist reports are designed to justify tree destruction by government bodies.

 And while I was looking up Stuff I thought I’d have another look at council’s tree pages. I live in hope that one day we’ll get a tree removal notification page.

The Street Trees page remains informative for anyone who hasn’t considered how valuable trees are to the community. We’re still waiting for the Street Tree Masterplan to be completed – as long as it doesn’t get another $200 000 in the budget, I suppose it doesn’t necessarily matter if it stays in draft form.

The ‘Hill Street Figs’ page (strange name) is something I could have fun editing but I suppose the spin will be there forever.

There is a summary of the Land and Environment Court judicial review of Laman Street which tells us that the case sets

 A Significant Legal Precedent The potential conflict between the two Acts [ the Roads Act 1993 vs Part 4 or Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979] is a significant legal issue that has not been the subject of prior judicial review. The Court’s decision is an important precedent that resolves the perceived tension between the two Acts and establishes that roads authorities are able to exercise their Roads Act power to preserve public safety without reference to the EPA Act

I know we won’t be safe from heat stroke or sunburn once the current trees go. Off to work.Talk soon.  Home








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