Thursday, 20 June 2013

Barking up the right tree.

  I can never understand why someone would want to cut a tree down to enhance their view. To me the tree is the view. Would you really prefer to stare incessantly into a vacuous distance or witness a living, growing, ever changing life-form, up close? 

  In Australia we’re lucky to have an amazing diversity of trees, many with wonderfully textured bark and curiously decorative seed pods. Take our locally iconic Sydney Red Gum (Angophora Costata) for example. With its smooth, salmon pink trunk and wrinkly, intricate limbs, it is gracefully architectural. 

 But trees have much more than good looks going for them. According to T.M. Das of the University of Calcutta, a tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, prevent soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250 and recycle $37,500 worth of water. He didn’t consider the fact that shade provided by trees can cool buildings by up to 20 degrees in the summer (hence massively reducing air conditioning bills). But trees do even more than that. Real Estate agents estimate that there is a $15-$25,000 increase of a home or business value in a tree lined street compared to one without trees. There is also compelling research to suggest that road rage is less in green urban areas  than in stark treeless ones and the aesthetic qualities of trees is well known to reduce blood pressure and ADHD.

 So embrace your trees, perhaps hug them if you’re so inclined and if possible, plant one yourself. If you do, remember - trees which are native to our area, are suited to our own soil and climatic conditions and provide food and shelter for our local wildlife. It makes sense, therefore to choose a species which is indigenous to the Northern Beaches.  


 A gorgeously tactile Sydney Red Gum.

  For some ideas on planting low growing, non obtrusive, endemic street trees and shrubs, check out the King St Avenue of Honour in Manly Vale   Green Tribute to the Merchant Navy.