Trees and Plants

Trees don’t live forever – but we wish they did.

Mitcham is a great place for trees. Trees make our suburbs more attractive, they shade us and improve our comfort by keeping us cooler in summer and reducing wind speed, they purify the air we breathe, and they provide habitat for birds and other fauna. Trees serve us well.

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Many of our avenues were planted as our suburbs were developed, by our parents and grandparents, so we are attached to our avenues and iconic trees. Trees have always been a big part of Mitcham, and they are a big part of why we like Mitcham.

As much as Mitcham loves its trees, no tree lasts forever. Many of our trees in our older suburbs are aged and deteriorating. These ageing trees continue to increase in value as they decay, their spreading canopies and gnarly trunks add to the beauty of a streetscape and birds and possums live and breed in their hollows.

Council’s Tree Strategy 2016 – 2025 commits to preserving Mitcham’s much-loved avenues. Although our trees can’t last forever, our avenues can. By strategically replacing small numbers of trees the impact of tree losses can be minimised and our avenues’ amenity and environmental values can be sustained indefinitely.

Every year Council works to replace the poorest trees in selected avenues. Many of these trees are severely decayed. Others in similar condition have dropped large branches or failed totally and been removed. Removing and replacing these trees with new saplings allows Council to maintain public safety while preserving the avenues.

If you require more information on tree planting or maintenance please contact Council by phoning 8372 8888 or by email to mitcham@mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au.

To achieve recognition, Mitcham met the five core standards: establish responsibility, set the rules, know what you have, allocate the resources and celebrate achievements.

“Mitcham joins cities around the world that have taken steps toward robust and healthy city forests,” said Dan Lambe, president, Arbor Day Foundation. “Trees clean our air and water, provide shade, and beautify the places we live and work. This designation signifies Mitcham’s commitment to being a healthier, happier city.”

As part of Mitcham’s Tree Strategy 2016-2025, City of Mitcham has accelerated its tree planting program from 1,100 in 2017 to 1,300 this year, jumping to 1,800 a year by 2025.

Other measures include an increase in the number of street tree audits and accelerated tree replacement program.

Research teams are monitoring sites in Hawthorn and Kingswood at different times during the day and night in a car equipped to measure temperature and humidity.

These sites are home to 180 Treenet Inlets installed by Council, along with hundreds of others across the City since 2015. Inlets collect stormwater from streets and allow it to soak into the verge through a gravel-filled well where it can be used by trees or soak into the groundwater. Roots extract water from the soil around the well, maintaining the health of the trees and keeping our streets cool in summer.

Researchers have also fitted sensors into tree canopies to show how the extra water that soaks into the verges alters the local climate and sap flow meters to show how quickly sap rises to replace the water lost from leaves.

When water evaporates from leaves of trees it cools our streets the same way evaporative air conditioners cool our homes.

Early indications suggest that a Treenet Inlet can boost the cooling power of a street tree on a summer’s day by about as much as running a domestic air conditioner for 12 hours.

Council acknowledges the funding and support provided by the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board through the Water Sustainability Grants Program 2019/20, and the ongoing collaboration and support of UniSA, Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, The University of Melbourne, TREENET Inc., the Government of South Australia’s Department for Environment and Water, Water Sensitive South Australia and the Environment Protection Authority.

For more information, visit mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au/environment/water/environmentally-friendly-stormwater-works.

Mitcham’s urban forest is an essential public asset which supports community and environmental wellbeing, the liveability of our city, and it will help us adapt to the changing climate. Planting and maintaining trees is a core service of Council. Council allocates a considerable budget each year to plant, maintain and manage trees in our urban forest so that they will continue to deliver human, social, environmental and economic benefits well into the future.

Council plants trees every winter to ensure that Mitcham remains a desirable, healthy and green city. Trees are planted in streets where opportunities exist due to the removal of dead or diseased trees, where there are gaps in established avenues and where residents have requested that trees be planted. Requests for trees to be planted can be made by phoning Council on 8372 8888 or by email to mitcham@mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au

Maintenance of trees in streets and on reserves is a core function of Council. Maintenance functions typically include pruning and pest treatment of mature trees and watering, formative pruning and staking of saplings. Council’s qualified arborists are trained to meet most maintenance requirements. Contractors may also be engaged by Council on occasions where work is beyond the capacity of staff, or where specialist skills are required. Residents are not authorised to prune street or reserve trees. Residents can request maintenance work for street and reserve trees by phoning 8372 8888 or by email to mitcham@mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au.

Council’s tree policy guides that trees are to be preserved where this is reasonably achievable, though on occasion tree removal may be necessary. Trees are removed when they die or when they are damaged and present unacceptable risk which cannot be managed in any other reasonable way. Removal of any tree over five metres in height requires a decision of Full Council unless it is dead, is a declared pest species, presents an immediate and unacceptable risk, or is diseased and treatment is not feasible. Regulated or significant trees may require further approvals. Residents wishing to request the removal of trees under Council’s care and control may contact Council by phoning 8372 8888 or by email to mitcham@mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au.

Trees are usually the dominant visual element in the landscape so species selection has a major impact on street amenity. As trees deliver a range of essential functions beyond streetscape amenity, Council considers many aspects when selecting tree species. Trees are significant investments so selected species must live long enough to return their value to the community, and must survive and thrive under local conditions.

Urban environments present challenges to establishing and maintaining trees. Space is restricted by overhead and underground utilities and services, roads, footpaths and driveways, so planting in streets is controlled by the Local Government Act 1999, Electricity Act 1996, Electricity (Principles of Vegetation Clearance) Regulations 2010 and the Water Industry Regulations 2012. Within this regulatory framework Council plants a diverse range of indigenous, native and exotic, evergreen and deciduous species to ensure that streets remain attractive, functional and low risk. Council plants species which are appropriate for the streetscape and are well suited to local conditions.