Perth councils take action to stop 90% of trees dying before maturation

In a frightening statistic, more than 90% of trees planted by Perth councils in an attempt to cool hot suburbs will die before maturing. The three main causes of death include:

  1. Defective root systems, due to gradual changes in nursery technologies over the past 50 years
  2. The practice of ‘hydrozoning’, a watering technique used in parks and reserves which prioritises turf and recreational areas over trees
  3. Increasing infill and resulting ‘hardscaping’ which has led to a decrease in soil quality

Recognising the seriousness of this mortality rate, Perth councils are pouring cash into greening, and slight adjustments have been made which will hopefully achieve big results.

Standards Australia has this year released a new Australian Standard aiming to improve the quality of root health in trees. Hydrozoning plans must also be adapted to better care for trees, and lastly soil health must be improved with planning for trees occurring at the same time as planning for infrastructure, allowing for the required volume and quality of soil (mindful of Perth’s already sandy soil).

Arbor Centre Principal, Rob Bodenstaff, said, “You need to engineer in a tree, not expect it to tolerate everything else we do. We do have solutions to all this stuff. It’s not high-level science … you can drought-proof trees and suburbs. Within the same budget we could get far better outcomes. If nothing happens, we’ll have constant celebration of trees being planted and the constant disappointment of realising they have failed.”[1]

Learn more about innovative tree solutions for urban forests here.


Golden Elm on Punt Rd most emailed tree in Melbourne

In 2013, the launch of the Urban Forest Visual website enabled Melbourne residents to email their favourite trees. Since the launch, more than 3000 emails – not just from Melbourne, but from all over the world! – have been received. The website maps each of Melbourne’s 77,000 trees – colour-coding them by age and health, and assigning each a number and email address.

Originally designed as a method for the public to notify council if a tree was damaged or suffering disease, council was surprised when people started emailing trees simply to tell them how much they loved them.

A golden elm, on the corner of Punt Road and Alexandra Avenue, across the road from the Yarra River and passed by thousands of motorists every day, has emerged as Melbourne’s most popular tree. Emails received include:

“Dear Tree, If you are that big round beautiful low hanging tree I think you are my favourite tree. Such beauty on such an ugly road. Keep up the good work.”

“Hello dearest elm, Do you remember when I used to drive past you and say hello? Why did they ever trim your canopy? Remember how your branches used to spread across the soil? It was glorious.”

“I used to think you were the Magic Faraway Tree when I was a child. Now that I’m an adult, I still look forward to seeing you as I come around the bend after a tedious crawl down Hoddle Street. A loyal friend always there waiting to say hello.”

At least 70 years old, the elm is listed as a tree of state significance by the National Trust. The tree even sometimes sends replies via The City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest team, such as:

“Dear C, So lovely to be appreciated. I am lucky to be well looked after. Some other people have documented how special I am, which you might like to check out: Best wishes, Your special Elm.”

This email correspondence is proof of just how important urban trees really are, providing joy, friendship, and precious childhood memories.

You can email the golden elm, or any other tree in the City of Melbourne, at the Urban Forest Visual website. Or, learn more about innovative tree solutions helping urban trees to thrive here.



Image credit:

Load More...

“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”

- Laura Wiesenekker, Project Engineer, Densford Civil -

“Citygreen is a very professional  business, and I found everything was great in terms of deliveries, product supply and information. It was all forthcoming and helped us to complete the project.”

- Keith Burns, Architect/Designer, Keith Burns Architect -

“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”

- James Callan, Estimating Manager, Complex Co Pty Ltd -

“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

- Sandra Smith, Principal Landscape Architect, City Of Monash -

“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

- Johny Purkaystha, Civil Program Engineer, Central Coast Council -

"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

- Brendan Wilton, CEO, Trim Landscaping, Bedford, Canada -