Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Reader Said (22)

It was very encouraging to receive an email from a reader who is building a new house and wants to put BIG trees on his verge. Hooray! 

He asked me about a few different species and because I'm out and about a lot I'll go by, have a look at his site and give him my thoughts.

If you have similar queries email me at

More than happy to do this if it means getting canopy into our suburbs!


  1. Please let us know your advice to him, Grayden

    1. Hi Helen

      I went and had a look at the resident's site today.

      The real problem was that the council's permitted street tree list was so limited and had only ONE big tree on it (!) - Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata). Great tree but due to the resident's proximity to the coast I didn't feel confident recommending it.

      My suggestion for a tree of that size was Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) but it's a moot point as it wasn't on the council's list.

      Apart from a very limited tree palette, the resident's property also had some constraints. He was on a corner block and had a swimming pool on the west side of the property and the front of his property faced north.

      My concerns were that large trees on the west side would fill his pool with leaves (the pool was very close to the property boundary) and large trees on the north side would rob his front rooms of valuable winter sunlight - unless of course he could use deciduous trees. However, the only deciduous trees on the Council list were way too small and also wouldn't like this semi-coastal location. [Councils really do need to look at their lists. Many of them need a serious overhaul.]

      In the end I suggested that due to the limitations of his council's list and the particular constraints of his site, he would be best to go with WA Peppermints on both frontages- not ideal in terms of canopy I know, but probably the best fit all things considered.

      For what it's worth, if I could choose anything I wanted, I would put big, deciduous Flame Trees (Erythrina X sykesii) out the front (north side) - yes, they're fine in semi-coastal conditions - as he had a big two storey house, set well up off the road. The scale of the Flame trees would make a fitting entry to the house. And on the west side where the pool is, I would use smaller-growing Poincianas. And yes, they too are perfectly good by the coast too. As I said to the resident, the only risk with this strategy is that his property might become a tourist attraction :)

      My final suggestion was that the resident write and ask for permission to plant trees of his choice at his cost. Council's sometimes agree if it's not out of their pocket and the trees won't be causing them any long term grief. Worth a go anyway.

  2. Thanks for your reply Grayden. I love the flame trees and poinciana idea.

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    2. No worries Helen. I realise I contradicted myself a bit with that last piece of advice. Elsewhere on the blog I've said that "the days of residents choosing their street tree are over" - ie councils need to decide what goes in their streets, not each individual owner. However, when the council's tree list is as poor as this one's, I must admit I would try and get something better ;)