Northern suburbs councils dig in to increase street tree canopy

Street trees in Wanneroo. Picture: Martin Kennealey d489224
Street trees in Wanneroo. Picture: Martin Kennealey d489224

NORTHERN suburbs councils say they are working to increase tree canopies after it was recently revealed they had some of the lowest levels in Perth.

With an 8 per cent tree canopy level, the City of Wanneroo had lowest level in the Perth metropolitan area according to a map published by ABC this month based on CSIRO figures from 2016.

The highest levels were between 15 and 20 per cent in Wanneroo, Yanchep and Carramar and the lowest was in Jindalee, which had a 0.4 per cent tree canopy, followed by Butler with 1.75 per cent.

The City of Joondalup’s average tree canopy was 10 per cent with the highest level in Warwick at 15.17 per cent.

Wanneroo’s assets director Harminder Singh said since 2016, the City had been proactive, planting an additional 13,900 trees in streetscapes and residential verges.

“These trees are watered for a two year establishment period to ensure their survival,” he said.

“The City offers a free verge tree planting service to residents and businesses every winter for a tree and or an additional tree to be planted on their verge adjacent to their property,” Mr Singh said.

“The City conducts a number of community planting days each winter where members of the community can attend and assist in planting native tube stock plants in conservation reserves.”

Mr Singh said about 20,000 tube stock were planted through that program each year, with six events planned this June and July.

“Residents are encouraged to retain existing trees and vegetation within their own properties and consider planting trees that are suitable for their environment in their gardens to increase shade and provide food habitat native fauna,” he said.

Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said the City recognised the positive impact trees had on the urban environment.

Mr Jacob said it would soon roll out the next two phases of the Leafy city program, providing street verge trees for 1300 households in Greenwood, Kingsley, Woodvale and Heathridge.

Street trees in Padbury.

“More than 2300 trees have been planted since the Leafy City program was established in 2017 to increase canopy cover across the City’s streetscapes and provide cooler, inviting green urban spaces for residents,” he said.

“The City implements an annual winter tree planting program where residents can apply to have one or more trees planted by the City on the verge adjoining their property.”

Mr Jacob said the City had also planted about 1500 trees a year, adding up to about 7000 since 2016 when the CSIRO data was collected.

“Local government authorities can only influence the tree canopy occurring in areas such as parks and road reserves,” he said.

“It does not have any influence on private property, which is the responsibility of landowners.”

Mr Jacob said landscapes such as coastal dunes within the City were not naturally characterised by tree canopy, which could negatively affect the statistics.

“Joondalup does not contain vast amounts of forested areas or conservation reserves typically found throughout the Hills region,” he said.

Mr Singh said trees on the City’s land were managed under the Street Tree Policy, which aimed to increase canopy cover and improve streetscapes and reserves by planting more trees.

It also defined circumstances under which the City’s trees could be removed or pruned.

Mr Singh said the City planned to draft and urban forest strategy in 2019-20.

He said challenges to increasing tree canopy cover included vandalism, tree removal due to development, increasing residential density and insufficient room to plant trees on street verges.

Community planting days

THE City of Wanneroo is calling on residents to help plant 17,500 tubestock this winter.

There will be six community planting events in June and July, with Wanneroo Scouts and schools also helping on planting days.

“Not only are you helping the environment and planting for a greener future, it is a great way to meet your neighbours,” Mayor Tracey Roberts said.

“The species are all endemic to the site where they are being planted and include groundcover, shrubs and trees.”

Rufus Park, Madeley: Sunday, June 9 from 9am to 11am, with Friends of Rufus Park.

Koondoola Bushland, Koondoola: Wednesday, June 19 from 9am to 11am, with Friends of Koondoola Bushland.

Mindarie Foreshore: Sunday, June 23 from 9am to 11am, with Quinns Rocks Environmental Group.

Forrest Grove Park, Two Rocks: Sunday, July 7 from 9am to 11am.

Marangaroo Conservation Reserve: Monday, July 15 from 9am to 11am, with Friends of Marangaroo Conservation Reserve.

Ashbrook Park, Pearsall: Sunday, July 21 from 9am to 11am.

To register, call the City’s Conservation team on 9405 5000 or email ConservationMaint@wanneroo.wa.gov.au.

Visit the cities’ website s for more information on verge trees in Joondalup and Wanneroo.

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