Mandurah: plastic tree protectors a risk to wildlife say local conservationists


Sally and Bill Warner with one of the deteriorating tree shields.
Sally and Bill Warner with one of the deteriorating tree shields.

DETERIORATING tree guards on the Creery Wetlands and other local reserves could be putting wildlife at risk.

The plastic protectors are leaving tiny pieces of shredded plastic strewn across the ground and local conservationists Bill and Sally Warner are concerned.

Mrs Warner says she collected about 100 of the offending items, which she believed cost between 30c and $1 each, and took them to the City of Mandurah which did not want them.

According to Mrs Warner, many of the saplings inside the protectors were dead, partly due to being planted in areas of insufficient rainfall.

“The pieces of plastic are so small you would need almost vacuum cleaner to pick them all up and I’m worried kangaroos, birds and other wildlife could eat them,’’ she said.

“The council told me it had re-used some of the protectors but did not want any more.”

Mrs Warner said she gave some to Men of the Trees and to a tree planting at Halls Head but does not know what to do with the rest.

According to the City of Mandurah, the council and the community planted close to 40,000 native plants this tree-planting season, using plastic tree guard sleeves only when necessary to protect the new plants from grazing animals and ensure the plants were not walked on.

A spokesman said the council trialled the hard corflute tree guards in question at a couple of sites last year but were not satisfied with them and did not use them this year.

The City’s Natural Areas crew runs bi-monthly checks of vegetation sites that includes removing tree guards from any dead plants and checking those remaining are firmly in place.

The Natural Areas crew are help by Coastcare and Bushcare volunteers who look after the sites between maintenance visits.

The spokesman said a number of other organisations involved in revegetation also used tree guards which made it difficult to determine where the detached guards had come from but the council would continue its greenstock maintenance program to ensure any dislodged guards had minimal impact on the surrounding environment.