Government to plant 17,000 more trees over next four years

Ian Bushnell 11 June 2019 33
street trees

Canberra’s street trees are vital in limiting the effects of our increasingly warm summers. File photo.

The ACT Government will plant 17,000 more trees across the city over the next four years, with the focus on areas with low canopy cover and where trees are ageing.

The measure announced in the Budget is less than the 7000 trees a year over the next decade the Greens say are needed to maintain and restore the city’s urban forest.

But the Government is calling it the largest program of tree planting this century, saying an Urban Forest Strategy will also be developed within 12 months, which will set out a pathway to meet canopy targets and build the resilience of Canberra’s green canopy.

The Budget papers say the tree planting measure is attached to a program for more bins at local shops, with the total cost amounting to $9 million, with only $338,000 in 2019-20, but increasing to $2 million in 2020-21, $3.1 million in 2021-22 and $3.7 million in 2022-23.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said the Government would also be looking to fill in gaps in the existing tree canopy cover in suburbs which are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“We will also begin a large-scale tree propagation program at the Government’s nursery at Yarralumla and engage and involve the community in this substantial planting program,” he said.

“This is the largest program of tree planting this century, to renew and enhance Canberra’s tree canopy. Trees play a big role in the lives of Canberrans, keeping our streets up to 10 degrees cooler in summer, and help us to adapt to climate change.”

Greens Planning spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur has said street and park trees in the ACT’s established suburbs were declining by around 3000 a year, and that the current tree planting program was not keeping up, with many trees been lost to age, development and the Millenium Drought.

She has also called for planning rules to be changed to allow more space for trees around developments.

The Government manages over 766,000 public trees in streets and urban open spaces.

It will also release its Climate Change Strategy in coming months.

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33 Responses to Government to plant 17,000 more trees over next four years
Anohs Llihpmeh Anohs Llihpmeh 9:26 am 15 Jun 19

We are deciding what street trees will replace 50 yo eucalypts removed just before we purchased the house, it takes alot of research to make sound decisions on what to replant regarding appropriate shading, roots etc as we want the best for our street. Perhaps developers and residents etc need guidelines on what to plant where for best future results and perhaps promote a nice theme of particular trees in different suburbs. An effective social media campaign on what others are doing successfully would help and would perhaps encourage residents to purchase trees themselves saving the powers that be a little money. A volunteer buddy/kind of mentor set up in suburbs for care of newly planted trees would be a community building side effect. We all need to take responsibility for our immediate environment.

Tania Navarro Tania Navarro 6:14 pm 13 Jun 19

Deciduous trees are great for people to plant on their properties, but our city needs lots of natives to provide the best food and shelter options for our native wildlife.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:38 am 15 Jun 19

    As long as they don't shade people's homes. Where they are planted in relationship to homes need to be considered. Wildlife is often adaptable. Possums LOVE apricot leaves for instance. Planting smaller natives does not usually give a problem; just large trees, such as eucalyptus. I have planted lots of smaller natives in my garden, but the only trees I have planted are food trees. They are smaller, most are deciduous, and provide food (too much taken by wildlife) cutting down food kms. In winter, they don't shade my house. Before anything is planted, its shade spread needs to be considered for the shortest day of the year.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 9:05 am 16 Jun 19

    Native wildlife? The place is a city, not a patch of scrub. We've got cars and trucks and buses and trams whizzing about on bitumen roads. The native frigging wildlife have a pretty thin time of it here.

    Deciduous trees give shade in summer and warmth in winter.

    I'm all for more eucalypts in bushland surrounding Canberra, or indeed in the many bushland hills and corridors we are so lucky to have. But give the people a break; we have to live here when it's hot and cold, and if climate change is altering the extremes, we will be needing more shelter from the weather, not less!

Timothy Ingold Timothy Ingold 2:51 pm 13 Jun 19

Thomas Lowe is this why your rates are going up?

Mark Rowland Mark Rowland 9:54 am 13 Jun 19

I’m glad more trees are being planted, but some thought about what type of tree is planted and where is sadly missing. In Bonython, a large number of trees (eucalypts of course) have been planted along Athllon Drive, in front of the north facing units. In a few years, the winter sun will be lost by all those units and the interiors will be darker and colder. A more sensible approach would have seen deciduous trees planted, providing shade in summer and light in winter.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:40 am 15 Jun 19

    That's shocking, and shows a high level of selfish ignorance on the part of those who chose them to plant there.

    Mark Rowland Mark Rowland 12:32 pm 15 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin it was ACT government methinks

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:37 pm 15 Jun 19

    Mark Rowland Too easy to blame the ACT government. I would say it could be down to one public servant who makes the choices, as they see it, and passes on instructions.

    Mark Rowland Mark Rowland 3:58 pm 15 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin all I know is there is no thought is given by *someone* to sensible plantings.

Carole Ford Carole Ford 8:23 am 13 Jun 19

Yes keep planting trees, but not eucalypts. They are horrible and unless they have a deep rooting system are always falling over. Their branches often crack and fall, sometimes on people. Looking around the ACT currently and seeing how many trees are affected by Die-Back, we're probably loosing several thousand a year anyway, so if you plant 17,000 over 4 years you're probably only replacing the losses.

David Rudland David Rudland 5:30 am 13 Jun 19

I haven't heard the term "Bush Capital" for a long time. We NEED to get it back. Just my opinion.

Virginia Lo Virginia Lo 1:06 am 13 Jun 19

Where would a tree fit on a 400m block in the new suburbs?

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:29 am 15 Jun 19

    Plenty of room, if you don't build a McMansion. I lived on a block of 450 sq metres and I had several trees, a large vegetable garden, a clothesline, a carport and extra room for several cars. How did they fit? Simple, it was an old style house; built in the days before McMansions. I bought the house from a family of five.

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:36 am 13 Jun 19

To allow winter sun through in winter, the trees need to be deciduous. Trees that shade houses could increase heating bills.

Lynn Richardson Lynn Richardson 11:57 pm 12 Jun 19

I am still waiting on a gum tree to be removed! If it falls over on my car I won’t be very happy!

But please....for the love of god don’t plant another one!

Lesley Fisk Lesley Fisk 11:13 pm 12 Jun 19

Great to plant more trees -it can never be enough - but it’s useless in our climate without a programmed watering program built in as part of the cost.

Sally Tang Sally Tang 8:52 pm 12 Jun 19

30,000 per year is actually what is needed

liberalsocialist liberalsocialist 7:59 pm 12 Jun 19

Can we get rid of the ridiculous idea that Australian native’s are any good? They take ages to grow, offer sparse canopies, drop branches once grown, have no Autumn magic… they’re ugly. Please stop this notion from the holier-than-thou branch that implies that if anyone says anything bad about our natives then they must not want to live here. Tired of that.

In the meantime – and even this article’s head photo shows it – the nicest streets are those lined with beautiful deciduous trees that grow quickly and have a rich, dark green foliage. But the few righteous people will claim that’s un-Australian to point out.

Nicole McGuire Nicole McGuire 7:40 pm 12 Jun 19

Still short of the estimated requirement by two thirds.

Christine Jack Christine Jack 6:37 pm 12 Jun 19

Yes but they are planting gumtrees - really. Should not be in suburbs

Christopher Mawbey Christopher Mawbey 6:14 pm 12 Jun 19

I hope their not natives.

Adrian Gab Adrian Gab 4:07 pm 12 Jun 19

Hopefully they will put a ton in Wright and Denman Prospect.

bigred bigred 3:37 pm 12 Jun 19

I just cannot fathom how they will get this done effectively after presiding over mass degradation of the urban forest over there two decades in charge. But if they do, it will mean the general population will need to behave and pretty much adopt their local plantings, rather than compacting the soil through parking their overflow SUVS in the root zone, or just ripping the new trees out due to some wiring fault in the individual’s brain.

Tom Porter Tom Porter 1:08 pm 12 Jun 19

Tree replacement should be q condition of all housing development applications. Developers should be required to plant appropriate trees as part of their projects.

Daryl Moore Daryl Moore 12:58 pm 12 Jun 19

Not under power lines

    Malcolm Campbell Malcolm Campbell 8:42 pm 12 Jun 19

    Daryl Moore too right

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 1:17 pm 13 Jun 19

    I have finally discovered a reason to like power lines. They stop a neighbour from letting his trees grow too big and shade my garden, because he needs to prune them to keep them clear of the power lines. Now, I wish another neighbour had to do so the same. An impenetrable wall of conifers maybe three storeys high.

Julia Ross Julia Ross 12:36 pm 12 Jun 19

It will be interesting to see how many of these trees survive. Unfortunately in Canberra as soon as something is planted or installed it is destroyed. Andrew Barr had already said that there has been loads of trees planted, but as soon as they're planted, they're destroyed.

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