Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Are Ficus eradication programs really a good idea?

Most Councils in Perth had (still have?) a Hill's Fig (Ficus hillii) eradication program. It was pretty much accepted wisdom that you should systematically remove them from your verges before they could become an issue. 

These days I'm not so sure about that. Canopy is canopy. I think I would use a bit more discretion and only remove them when they're actually causing problems now. And it would have to be pretty severe problems at that. I've seen a lot of sizeable specimens around town that are causing relatively little damage for the ecological services they provide.

Click photo to enlarge

Like this extraordinary avenue of fifty or so in Gugeri St, Claremont.  

In the eight years I was there we only occasionally did a bit of kerb and asphalt repair; a small price to pay for such a magnificent asset.

Click photo to enlarge

Speaking of Ficus, this Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) - also in Gugeri St, Claremont - is a nice success story. 

For a long time it was surrounded by paving, until about five years ago when it started to decline - so badly we thought we might actually lose it.

With due haste we removed the paving, mulched the area and heavily watered (by tanker) for a couple of summers. We injected some nutrient supplements into the trunk too from memory.

Its recovery has been slow (I must admit I wondered at times if our efforts were too little, too late) so it was very pleasing today to go back and finally see it looking so good.

It's a Claremont icon and well worth nurturing.

After all, it's still only a pup :)

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