An important part of our landscaping plan is looking after the mature trees on the block. We want to work with the trees, rather than develop a design which ignores their presence. After all, these trees have been here for quite some time so they deserve our respect.
Who can help with advice about mature trees?
Not having the faintest idea about how to decide what to do with our trees, we started by asking the Adam from Cutting Edge Tree Services. Adam had done a great job with pruning and lopping some trees at our previous home. We felt he would know how to approach this issue.
After explaining our needs, Adam put us onto Treelogic. Apparently, we needed a specialist firm to create a pre-development arboricultural consulting report.
Jacob from Treelogic conducted the site visit and wrote the detailed report that explained the best way of looking after our mature trees. Four trees were of particular interest.
Meet our Deodar, an exotic conifer.
All looks good for this tree. It is located near the front door to the first home so the tree will serve as a highlight in the landscaping plan. All the tree needs is a bit of pruning and tidying to be right for many years to come.
The Swamp Gum is a keeper.
This fine old gum tree is definitely one to treasure. Our third house will be built nearby with the carport opening out towards this tree. The tree is in good health so looking after this one just means giving it a bit of TLC via some light pruning.
Houston, we have a problem (with the liquid amber).
Jacob’s report on the liquid amber tree wasn’t positive. The poor tree is suffering from several problems – trunk decay, basal decay, past limb failure and acute union. Oh, and did we mention the borers? It’s not healthy at all.
Unfortunately, this tree will have to come out. Due to the likelihood of it dropping limbs and estimated 5 year lifespan, we are better off replacing it with an indigenous tree. That was sad news as the colours of the leaves in Autumn were quite spectacular.
Is there a tree under all that ivy?
Down in the back corner of the block lives a Narrow-leaved Ash that is infested with ivy. Jacob’s report highlighted other issues with this mature tree – co-dominant stems and a weed species. How ironic is that? We have a weed tree that is being taken over by another weed.
While we’re looking at the tree, check out the greenhouse that has appeared in our back garden. As product tester for Kogan, Ben is testing another version of the greenhouse that blew over while undergoing testing here a few months ago. The suppliers took note of his suggestion to add some tie ropes and pegs to hold the structure onto the ground. It’s been here a week and survived some wintry weather quite well, apart from wandering a little bit and leaning to one side.
The poor old tree is suffering. Attempts to kill the ivy by cutting the connection between the upper sections and the roots have failed spectacularly. The weed must be sucking nutrients directly from the tree.
All in all, this means the tree will be going. Our neighbours at the back will be glad to see it go. They are living under the large limbs which poke out over their properties – tree has been pruned back from our side which made the tree unbalanced.
The current plan for the Narrow-leaved Ash is to have it taken out before the end of the year, using a fast-track Maroondah Council approval process called VicSmart Planning Permits. We think we satisfy the requirements for taking out one tree in a landscape overlay area so we can get approval within 10 days. In taking the tree out, we are keen to explore the idea of creating a “dead tree” that could provide a habitat for the native birds. Rather than take it down to ground level, we want to see if a substantial stump plus some remnant branches can be left behind. This would make a feature in our indigenous garden and simulate the natural mix of live/dead trees in bushland. Not sure if this is possible, but you never know.
Looking after the mature trees = tree protection zones.
An important concept that Jacob introduced to us in his report is the use of a Tree Protection Zone during design and construction. To make sure the tree has a good chance of surviving the construction phase, there is a designated zone around the base of the tree where limits are placed on what can be done. For example, our Deodar needs a TPZ with a 5.3 m radius. The tree gets a temporary fence during construction to highlight this area and prevent easy access.
We’re very glad we found out about this requirement now so we can work the TPZ’s into the design considerations.
Getting Treelogic involved has proved to be a success with lots of useful information. We feel confident their report will be an essential part of our approach to the Maroondah Council for the planning permit.