Resumed tree planting extended to villages

Street tree planting by Council is returning from a two-year break, after sources of reused water were identified to help establish the trees.

The annual program was suspended in 2018 because of the drought and accompanying water restrictions but resumed this week with plantings in Hillgrove, as the program is extended into the villages for the first time.

“Wollomombi is also part of the program’s initial expansion into the villages, following consultation with residents in both these communities,” Council’s Project Officer – Public and Town Spaces, Richard Single, said.

“A total of 90 trees will be established in Hillgrove and Wollomombi during this round of planting and we will progressively incorporate other villages into the program.”

The program will reuse stored water from the filtration system backflush operations at the Monckton Aquatic Centre, as well as sample water which is used for quality testing at Armidale Water Treatment Plant and is not potable at the end of that process.

“They are safe, reusable water supplies that effectively drought-proof the annual tree planting program,” Mr Single said.

“They will be used to water the trees for several weeks after they are planted. Once they are properly established – and after some initial pruning to shape the trees – they generally require very little maintenance.”

Approximately 300 trees, ranging between one and two metres tall, will be planted during this year’s program.

In line with Local Government NSW’s Urban Forest Policy, both Australian and introduced tree species are planted across Council’s open spaces.

“Our street tree plantings incorporate a diverse range of low-water-use introduced species, with an emphasis on autumn colours and new spring growth to maintain our streetscapes that attract visitors from far and wide,” he said.

“We select tree varieties with features best suited to their particularly locations and to increase diversity in what is now commonly referred to as our urban forest. The ideal street tree has good vertical form, deep roots less likely to interfere with road and drainage infrastructure and is extremely drought resistant.

“Where we are planting on particularly wide road reserves, we will look at a range of indigenous to suit each location.”

The program’s resumption coincides with Council’s introduction of new tree management software, which will assist with strategic planning for the planting and maintenance of the approximately 25,000 trees in the region’s road reserves and community open spaces.

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