Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Reader Said (20)

A "guerrilla greener" sent me the following email:

"Hello Grayden,
I completely agree with your blog. I have approached my council many times about additional trees in my area and they do nothing. It is now to the point where I buy seedlings and plant them in parks myself. I am at the 400 mark now and won't stop until my area is green.

What really gets me are these new barren wasteland suburbs which have absolutely no street trees. 

And when they do get them they are tiny Bottlebrushes and Weeping Peppermints.

I only plant Tuarts and Flooded Gums, hoping they will hit the 50m mark some day…"

Bit of a sad commentary on the current state of affairs, isn't it?


  1. Hi there Grayden,

    I come from the other perspective of working for a fast growing local government and trying to put street trees in to replace the many that have been removed for development. We are constantly getting residents fighting the Council saying they don't want a street tree because who is going to clean up the mess, clean the leaves out of their gutters and that the tree roots will block their soak wells and that they are a safety risk. Other excuses that people come out with is that they may be allergic to bees or pollen and that the honky nuts smash the neighbours windows when they mow the lawn. So we have heard all of the excuses really!! We have residents that threaten to continually kill and destroy any trees that are planted on their verge. The Council have even had petitions from residents stating they do not want street trees. So we are constantly fighting an uphill battle to try and green the suburbs after the developers have come through and clear felled large areas of the natural native trees to construct their developments. The officers know all of the benefits of the trees, but trying to convince the public is also a challenge, but we try our best to put in and keep what we can!

    1. Yep, I hear you. I know exactly what it's like having been there myself.
      However I think the answer is to do what Brimbank City Council did in Melbourne. I talk about it here:

      (Copy and paste the link into your browser)

      Bottom line: the way to win over tree-phobes is to plant trees! Sure, haters are gonna hate - you'll always get that - but most people are winnable. As they said to me at Brimbank, you just have to ignore the "noise" and keep going!

      Good luck and thanks for your insight. Much appreciated.

  2. Hi Grayden,

    Having lived in Sydney for 14 years (I grew up in Perth), I'm astounded to come home and realise how anti-tree we are here, especially considering the climate we live in. I currently live in Stirling where the council's green policy is just sheer window dressing (welcome to the land of fake turf and brick paved verges everywhere and no effort to change it).

    When I lived in Sydney, the 2x councils where I lived were harsh on anyone who cut down trees or killed trees that were under tree preservation (which was any tree over 5 metres tall that wasn't listed as invasive). They investigated every dead tree, especially significant tree register examples, and they would fine property owners and make them pay for mature replacements. We had 2x huge eucalyptus trees that had a preservation order on them. My strata fees were a little higher because we had to pay for qualified arborist reports so we could get council approval to get tree doctors to do deadwood removal which could be $2k every 2 years or so but the benefits of the shade, the beauty and the wildlife (sulphur-crested cockies, possums, owls, even native bush turkeys) was worth ten times more. Divided by 5 or more strata owners, the cost was about $100-200 a year extra strata. You'd pay double that for a weekend away somewhere down south and we had it every afternoon and night when we sat out our backyard relaxing.

    I'm moving back to Wembley area next year when my house is finished construction and the first thing I'll be doing is planting some big tree that I can enjoy for the next 20 years with my family. Probably won't plant a gum tree but a big liquidambar or london plane tree is in my sights.

    Regards BS

    1. Some good insights here into how we compare with other parts of Australia. I've always found it ironic that of all the capital cities, Perth arguably has the most to gain from trees, but is possibly the most anti them!! Thanks for sharing BS.