Street Tree Planting Plan
Over the past two decades Merri-bek’s urban forest has been affected by extended dry periods, urban consolidation, inadequate protection during construction, and constrained levels of maintenance. At the same time, the community are increasingly calling for more action to improve the amenity of streetscapes, increase vegetation cover, reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect and improve the protection, management of existing vegetation and support for community planting.
Urban Forest Strategy
In response, Council endorsed the Urban Forest Strategy 2017-27 (DOC 20Mb) in 2017 to deliver practical measures that guide the sustainable planning, planting, management, resourcing and protection of vegetation across Merri-bek. The term urban forest refers to all the trees and other vegetation in public and private spaces. It includes, for example, street and park trees, front and backyard vegetation, grasslands, shrubs, wetlands, nature strips, balcony plants, and green roofs and walls.
Background work undertaken in preparation of this Strategy has improved our understanding of the current urban forest, its challenges and identified opportunities for greening across the municipality.
Council is well placed to respond to these challenges and has committed additional resources to improving tree protection across the municipality as well enhancing tree canopy cover.
Key actions of the Urban Forest Strategy 2017 – 2027 include:
- Doubling canopy cover across Merri-bek to 29 per cent by 2050 to mitigate the impacts of heatwaves
- Improving both the health and successful establishment of Council trees
- Protecting existing trees through improved planning and enforcement measures
- Working closely with community groups and residents to support greening initiatives while fostering positive community attitudes towards urban forest
- Continuing to plant canopy trees in Merri-bek’s streets and parks to fill vacant sites and replace under-performing trees
- Improving tree health and cooling through the integration of water sensitive urban design
Trees on Council land will thrive best if they are valued and supported by the local community.
Community custodianship of urban trees encourages the community to be more patient with tree growth, fear less about fallen limbs and consider autumn leaves and seed pods less problematic. It also requires Council to sustain and maintain its street tree assets.
These two streetscape images show surface temperatues using a thermal camera. They were taken when the ambient temperature was around 37 degrees Celsius. Both images clearly illustrate the important role of street trees in reducing temperatues through shade and evapotranspiration. The image on the left reveals a 36.7 degree difference between exposed areas and shade. The image on the right shows the car parked in the sun is nearly 60 degrees compared to 31 degrees for areas under the shade of the street trees.
Minchin, Guthrie and Cohuna Streets in Brunswick West have been identified as providing a great opportunity to mitigat the urban heat island as well as improve amenity and habitat through the planting of street trees. Trees are proposed to be planted in the middle of the road to avoid services like power, water, gas and sewer and maximise tree canopy cover.
For further details contact Council's Urban Forest Officer on 8311 4300