Plane Trees progressively replaced

The City of Melbourne is progressively replacing London Plane trees with new tree species planted on public land across the municipality.

London Plane Trees make up nine per cent of the municipality’s total tree population on public land, and 70 per cent of the tree population in the CBD.

Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood said one of the aims of the City of Melbourne’s highly-regarded Urban Forest Strategy is to reduce the dominance of Plane Trees in the central city.

“Plane Trees are quick to grow in harsh conditions, have a fantastic canopy, and provide significant environmental benefits in terms of shade and cooling,” the Acting Lord Mayor said.

“The majority of our Plane Trees were planted in the 1980s and 1990s, replacing poorly performing Ash trees and some Elms and Paperbarks.”

“The Plane Trees in Swanston St form a consistent and relatively healthy avenue, but where Plane Trees in other parts of the city need to be removed we are taking opportunities to replace them with different tree species.”

“We will invest $4.2 million to plant at least 3400 trees this year and care for the more than 80,000 trees we manage in the public realm. We will continue to plant a variety of new Australian and international species that are suited to warmer temperatures.”

London Plane Trees shed leaf shoots and hairs (trichomes) during the same period that grass pollen levels are at their highest in Melbourne. While some people may experience physical irritation from the leaf and shoot hairs, the most common cause of hay fever is grass pollen, predominantly from western Victoria.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Cathy Oke, said the City of Melbourne has a target of no more than five per cent for any tree species within the municipality.

“We’ve planted more than 21,000 trees since 2012, so the change is already underway. Where possible, we’re progressively replacing Plane Trees and heat vulnerable Elm Trees with species that are resilient to the impacts of climate change,” Cr Oke said.

Research shows that the trees likely to perform in Melbourne’s warming climate include Moreton Bay Figs, Jacaranda, Sweet Gums, Lemon-Scented Gums, Queensland Bottle Trees, Mexican Hand Trees, Bunya Pines and Salmon Gums.

Recent plantings:

  • Lygon Street median strip: 19 London Plane Trees have been replaced with 14 European Hackberry trees between Victoria Street to Queensberry Street
  • Russell Street median strip: Plane trees are gradually being replaced, with four Spotted Gums recently planted south of Collins Street
  • Exhibition Street median strip: Five Camphor Laurel trees have been planted between Bourke and Flinders as Plane Trees are gradually replaced
  • Lonsdale Street median strip: Plane trees are gradually being replaced, with six Port Jackson Fig trees planted between Elizabeth Street and Swanston Street.
  • Southbank Boulevard: Plane Trees are being removed and replaced with more than 300 trees of various species including Liquidamber, Lemon Scented Gums and Red Iron Barks.

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