Trees for Mitcham’s Future
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.
Annual Tree Planting Projects
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tree Species Selections
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.
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.
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 a small number of individual trees in our avenues every few years, their 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.
This year Council will be replacing trees in five avenues of White cedar in Kingswood. A small number of trees – those that are in poor structural condition - will be removed from each street and replaced with the sterile form of the White cedar species in the following streets:
- Balham Avenue
- Halsbury Avenue
- Kyre Avenue
- Seafield Avenue
- Rugby Street
Tree removals will be scheduled for late autumn, with planting to follow during the winter. Other trees in these streets will be pruned to improve their safety and appearance. Dead wood will be removed and any branches that hang low over the footpath or road, or near signs or lights, may also be trimmed.
Council has been conducting avenue restoration projects across Mitcham for over a decade. Many of the trees planted in Rugby Street and Kyre Avenue in 2006, and in Balham Avenue in 2008, are now well established and they already make a great contribution to the streetscape. Along with this year’s project these works will ensure our White cedar avenues continue to make Mitcham a great place to enjoy well into the future.
For more information or to discuss any aspect of this project please contact Tim Johnson by emailing email@example.com or by telephone on 8374 7722.