Armadale: support for grass verges

Mayor Henry  Zelones.
Mayor Henry Zelones.

THE City of Armadale defended grassed verges in the wake of Water Corp comments that Perth should consider native plants instead of grass.

Water Corporation chief executive Sue Murphy was speaking at a lunch organised by the Urban Development Institute of Australia recently when she said Perth would benefit by moving away from “green, rolling lawns” towards native shrubs and more trees.

She urged more households to adopt “water-wise” verges.

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However, Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones said: “We are pleased to see the Water Corporation talking Waterwise but it is too simple to say verges shouldn’t be grassed.

“I know many residents with grassed verges who do not use any water to maintain their verges. I am one of them.

“While my verge loses some of its greenness over the summer period, it quickly rejuvenates with the autumn rains.

“For many residents a grassed verge has been a lifelong habit and not one that will be easily changed and grass verges do have benefits such as to enable water to return to the aquifer beneath, reducing run-off and drainage.”

Cr Zelones said public verges were needed for services but were also a valuable space for people movement, amenity and even recreation.

“Many new communities no longer have any or very little private space, so the streetscape is an important part of the suburban environment,” he said.

The City does encourage residents to incorporate low native plants within their verge landscape and their guidelines are available on the City’s website.

“Each verge needs to be designed according to location and topography,” he said.

People can request a street tree, or a verge makeover by the City (if three neighbours agree) and advice from the City horticulturalist is also available.

“Broadly, in the ‘flat’ areas, low native shrub planting with recycled timber mulch reduces ongoing water usage, creates areas of local bio-diversity which will encourage bird life, and will create an attractive streetscape that is comfortable to walk around.

“However, visibility, public thoroughfare and other factors need to be considered.

“Timber mulch is not appropriate in sloped or hills areas,” he said.