Arbour Day 2020

Arbour Day 2020

Thank you for joining us as we celebrate Arbour Day with the City of Mitcham community. As part of the day we’ve distributed 500 trees across the City. Watch as celebrity gardener Kim Syrus shares tips and tricks on how to plant and care for your new tree. Enjoy!

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To mark Arbour Day and to commemorate City of Mitcham’s Tree City of the World status, City of Mitcham hosted a ‘virtual tree planting’ on 1 September 2020.

We invited residents to tune in to our Facebook page at 11am on Tuesday 1 September to learn tips on how to prepare, plant and care for a new tree.

We planted a Blackwood wattle (Acacia melanoxylon) at Mitcham Reserve to commemorate the day, which coincides with national Wattle Day.

As part of the day, Council distributed 500 trees across the City including to local schools to encourage the community to expand Mitcham’s tree canopy and raise awareness of the importance of planting native trees.

Species include Bottlebrush hakea, Gungurru, Red flowered mallee, Book-leaf mallee, Golden stalk banksia and Weeping pittosporum.

City of Mitcham Mayor Dr Heather Holmes-Ross said by planting trees, residents were helping to provide food, shelter and protection for native wildlife.

“The species have been selected as being hardy and attractive,” she said. “This is a fantastic initiative by Council. I encourage everyone in our area to plant a tree and celebrate spring with us.”

Species selected by Council as part of the day are hardy and attractive. Some information on each species is set out below.

Bottlebrush hakea (Hakea francisiana) is a shrub or small tree that grows up to 5m. Minor pruning during its early growth can help to form it into an upright and highly ornamental tree. The Bottlebrush hakea’s leaves are long and slender and the flowers are typically a stunning bright pink.

Being a member of the protea family, choose a planting location that is well drained. On sloping ground, plant it toward the top of the garden. Minimise root disturbance when taking your hakea from its pot for planting, and firm it into the ground when you backfill. Only ever use low-phosphorus fertilisers near any proteas.

Find out more here.

Gungurru (Eucalyptus caesia) is a slender upright tree that grows to a height of 7m with weeping foliage and large pink flowers. This tree’s weeping habit is particularly attractive, so to take full advantage of this it is best not to plant it near a path or driveway. Choose a garden bed surrounded by smaller native plants.

Find out more here.

Red-flowered mallee (Eucalyptus erythronema) varies in height in different locations and soils but it typically matures at between 3 and 5m. If left to grow naturally it will form a mallee with several trunks, but it can be pruned to form a very neat and upright tree. Both growth forms are highly ornamental, so train the tree to suit your location. Minor pruning during the first two or three years is the best way to achieve an upright specimen. This is a hardy species that will grow in most soils but avoid sites that could become waterlogged and don’t overwater.

Find out more here.

Book-leaf mallee (Eucalyptus kruseana) is a multi-stemmed tree which grows up to 4m tall. The common name refers to the leaves being parallel along the stems, almost like pages in a book, which makes this a favourite in flower arrangements. This species will form a small canopy that will produce masses of flowers and attract honeyeaters from around the neighbourhood. Plant in a well-drained location and if you prefer an upright small tree don’t be afraid to prune to remove some side shoots when it is young.

Find out more here.

Ashby’s banksia (Banksia ashbyi) grows as a shrub or small tree to approximately 4 to 6m tall. The standout feature of this species is its bright orange flowers and long, serrated leaves. Ashby’s banksia can be left as a shrub if you want a screening plant, or it can be pruned into a neat small tree.

Being a member of the protea family, choose a planting location that is well drained; towards the top of the garden on a sloped site. Minimise root disturbance when planting and firm it into the ground when you backfill. Only ever use low-phosphorus fertilisers near any proteas and avoid overwatering – a bucketful every three or four days during its first summer should be enough to see it establish well.

Find out more here.

Golden stalk banksia (Banksia media) generally grows best as a dense, bushy shrub to about 5 or 6m but can be pruned into a tree form amongst other garden plants. The masses of bright yellow flowers can cover the shrub during winter months, providing nectar and pollen for native bees and birds.

As with most plants in the protea family, choose a planting location that is well drained. Minimise root disturbance when planting and firm it into the ground when you backfill. Only ever use low-phosphorus fertilisers near any proteas and avoid overwatering – a bucketful every three to four days during its first summer should be enough to see it establish well.

Find out more here.

Round-leaf mallee (Eucalyptus orbifolia) is a small, multi-stemmed tree maturing at 5 – 7 m tall. Fragrant, nectar and pollen-rich flowers cover the tree in late winter and spring, making the species highly attractive to insects and birds.

Plant Round-leaf mallee in a fully exposed and well-drained site where it will get maximum sunlight. A little formative pruning when its young, to remove wayward side-shoots from the base, will help to establish an attractive, upright specimen.

Find out more here.

The King’s Park bottlebrush (Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’) grows to 4 to 5 m tall and is covered in bright red flowers during summer. This bottlebrush will thrive in well-drained loam but also grows well in clay.

The species can be quite bushy, so plant it clear of driveways, paths and buildings. It grows best in full sun but can handle part shade. When pruned the bottlebrush can be formed into a neat small tree, or it can be hedged to make a dense screen.

Find out more here.

Twin-leaf emu-bush (Eremophila oppositifolia) flowers attract birds and insects in winter and early spring. Typically growing as a shrub or small tree to 4m tall, this species is ideal for planting on small allotments. Without pruning the plant will develop as a shrub, but pruning young plants to remove low-growing side shoots will help to establish a neat and upright tree.

Plant your Twin-leaf emu bush in full sun in a well-drained position. Water it in well following planting, then water sparingly during spring and summer. After its first summer the Twin-leaf emu-bush will rarely require additional water.

Find out more here.

All the above species have attractive foliage and flowers and will attract native birds. To best enjoy your new tree, consider planting it at the edge view from your favourite window or seat. That way you get to keep the view but enjoy the wildlife too.

These are small to medium size trees reaching to several metres in height, so select an appropriate location, taking care to avoid pipes and electricity connection.

Trees are solar powered. To get the best from your new tree be sure to plant it in a location where it will get good sunlight for at least half of the day.

Water your new tree when you plant it, but don’t overwater. During warmer weather your new tree might need a bucket or two (approximately 10 to 20 litres) twice a week.

Water gently into the soil that came in the pot, as potting soil is free draining. This will ensure the water is where the tree’s roots can access it. Allow the tree time to use the water before you water it again – when the leaves droop a little more than usual after a few days is the ideal time.

Even though these are small species, they can sometimes benefit from minor pruning. Pruning is best done when trees are small and actively growing. If your tree starts to grow a branch toward a garden feature such as a seat, bird bath or gate, prune early to prevent any issues.

Good luck!