City Trees

May/ June 2012

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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affects myrtaceous species which make up a large per- centage of our tree population in Melbourne. We were involved in a study comparing Hume City Council's trees to Melbourne City Council's using i-Tree and found out some interesting differences between our predominately native urban forest and Melbourne's exotic trees. We are also experimenting with different species of trees in water quality treatment and with Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) elements in the City on a number of recent projects. Canopy and root sys- tems add to the water holding and treatment ability of a WSUD element, and passively watering trees and designing systems for tree roots can only be a good thing for the urban environment. What are the unique challenges and pleasures of urban forestry in your municipality? JS: Hume City Council is predominately a large basalt plain with more evaporation than rainfall; it receives half the rainfall of the rest of Melbourne. The tough soil conditions and exposed nature of the area make tree establishment challenging. The palette of trees suitable is limited by the difficult environmental condi- tions of the City. Up-lighting lemon-scented gum (Corymbia citriodora) in a busy Hume City roundabout. One of the pleasures of working at Hume City Council is the large old remnant river red gums (Eucalyptus camal- dulensis) that dot the creek corridors and end up in Council open space. These trees are hundreds of years old and predate European settlement in this country. We have a large program of weed control, mulching, and pruning for these significant trees in our City. What are some points of pride when you think about your city forestry program? JS: We have an extensive tree establishment program, planting over 5000 trees in streets and parks annually. On top of this we inherit 8,000-10,000 trees from new developments each year. We also have programs to mulch, spray weeds, and irrigate the trees in the first two years after planting. Our contract-grown trees are given formative pruning at the nursery and then we do structural pruning at years two, four, and six. We have developed a GIS-based management system known as the Hume Tree Management System (HTMS). The HTMS has developed over an eight-year period and contains around 158,000 trees accurately mapped with details on species, height, DBH, priority work required, and risk assessment. This allows us to prioritise works from the limited budgets we have to ensure we are target- ing the trees of most need and preventing tree failures. Structural pruning of large remnant river red gums We monitor the performance of our tree establishment programs and recently assessed five years of plantings, 13

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