Gardening expert to hand out free trees at Belmont’s Autumn River Festival

Gardening and urban design expert Dr Josh Byrne (Left) with City of Belmont Mayor Phil Marks.
Gardening and urban design expert Dr Josh Byrne (Left) with City of Belmont Mayor Phil Marks.

GARDENING expert Josh Byrne will hand out free trees and advice at the City of Belmont’s Autumn River Festival in Garvey Park on April 2.

The Gardening Australia presenter wants to raise community awareness of the importance of native trees in backyards and streetscapes.

The City of Belmont appointed Dr Byrne’s company Josh Byrne and Associates to develop a canopy plan, the next step in its urban forest strategy.

“The canopy plan is really getting into some of the nuts and bolts and working out tree numbers, canopy areas and practices about getting buy-in from the community – residents, ratepayers and other community stakeholders – to recognise the importance of trees in the urban landscape,” Dr Byrne said.

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The City of Belmont created an urban forest strategy in 2014 after reports it had the lowest number of trees in the metropolitan area.

The loss of tree canopy caused a heat sink, increasing temperatures by 12 degrees in some suburbs.

Yet some people cannot see the wood for the trees.

“Most people inherently know trees are important for shade, wellbeing and beauty,” Dr Byrne said.

“(Yet) on a micro level some people don’t want a tree on their particular property.”

He said the key message was trees had a huge role to play in the liveability of suburbs and cities.

“We all need to be onboard with how we can increase tree canopies in our own gardens, streetscapes, parks and we need to start seeing trees as urban forests, not one-off specimens.”

City of Belmont Mayor Phil Marks said the Autumn River Festival was a highlight of the City’s calendar and traditionally one of its larger events.

The festival celebrates Belmont’s position by the Swan River with a water ski spectacular and free kayak and stand-up paddleboard trials.

Fresh cooked fish and chips for every resident will accompany tastings of premium regional wines for adults.