Large Tree Replacement and Management Plan

Large Tree Group contact details: Stacey August  stacey.august64@gmail.com

Large Tree Group: Creating a Plan

Updated 30 June 2020

Background

In 2018 concerns were raised with DCRAG about the health of Large Trees within the Darlington recreation area.  Five had recently died and been removed.  There were concerns regarding the life expectancy of the remaining Large Trees.

A picture containing text, map, drawing  Description automatically generated

Darlington Recreation Area – boundary of Tree Inventory and Survey June 2020

Report on Tree Status

During 2019, a Large Tree Group (LTG) created by DCRAG, communicated with Shire of Mundaring horticultural and infrastructure staff, and community members who have an interest and knowledge of trees.  The group gathered a history of the trees in the Darlington Recreation Area and created a  tree inventory in collaboration with local arborist Brad Bowden. 

The two complementary documents are downloadable from this page

Darlington Recreation Area Large Tree Inventory and Recommendations: the case for a large tree replacement and long-term management plan. 

Arboricultural Survey – Darlington Recreation Area 25th May 2020

Summary of Results

From their research the LTG discovered that;

1.       There is no existing large tree replacement plan for the Darlington Recreation Area.

2.       Canopy will be lost in the near future. Darlington is considered a leafy suburb and benefits from extensive tree cover over the roads and pathways. The canopy coverage in the centre of the village, however, needs continuing consideration because of its high use. The arborists report suggests, “Within the next 15 years, a total of 738m2 of canopy cover is expected to be lost” (Bowdon,Arboricultural Survey – Darlington Recreation Area 25th May 2020 p2). It also appears, for example, that without further planting, within the next 30-40 years the road along Pine Terrace will become completely unshaded. Other areas with immediate and more imminent canopy issues are pinpointed in the discussion.

3.       Currently unshaded areas need new plantings.  “The skate park and slopes areas currently lack significant shade and as such provide a major opportunity for new planting and the provision of tree-related benefits to the local community”.      

(Bowden, Arboricultural Survey – Darlington Recreation Area 25th May 2020, p2).

4.       The Large Trees in DRA contribute their imposing heights and canopy sizes to a space that the community sees as beautiful and welcoming. They provide shade for community gatherings, focal points for functional areas and forage for local wildlife. The community wants Large Trees in the village centre.

5.       To have continuity of Large Trees and the canopy they provide, a planting program is necessary and urgent. The last planting was in 2011.  

6.       Complex issues of warming climate, bushfire risk, water availability – natural and supplied, existing infrastructure, appropriate species selection for shade, habitat, amenity and success must be considered before planting any trees. Creating a comprehensive and long-term plan without knowledgeable guidance is currently outside the skill set of the volunteers in the group. The LTG inventory data, arboricultural survey and community consultation will assist with the formulation of such a plan. 

7.       A replacement program could plan for regular succession planting at timed intervals to ensure that the Large Trees do not all reach old age at the same time.

8.       The Shire of Mundaring has a strong awareness of the community’s attachment to and need of, the natural environment. At least two of their policy documents show an understanding of the depth of that need. The “Shire of Mundaring Strategic Community Plan 2016-2026” includes community and natural environment objectives: “a strong and localised community spirit, a place where the environment is well managed and a great place to immerse yourself in nature”.  The Shire of Mundaring 2020 Street Tree Policy, whilst related to the shading of road surfaces in poorly shaded, semi-urban localities, acknowledges the shade impact tree canopy contributes. Additionally, consultation with SOM horticultural staff contributes to the LTG belief that the SOM is committed to shade planting through the Shire.

9.       The “Darlington Precinct Plan 1998” was adopted by the Shire of Mundaring as a Town Planning Scheme Code. It sets out ten objectives, four of which would be answered by the creation of a Large Tree Replacement and Long Term Management Plan. The Precinct Plan is available on this website at   https://www.darlingtonvillage.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Darlington-Precinct-Plan1998.pdf

A Plan is Needed 

The LTG is convinced that there is a need for a long-term, comprehensive replacement plan for large tree species that includes management practices to improve longevity and maintain beauty and amenity. In March 2020 DCRAG sought funding through the SOM to hire suitable professional assistance to create a comprehensive plan and address the declining tree canopy issue. The Shire responded in March 2020 with an offer of in-house staff expertise to formulate an appropriate plan. The DCRAG LTG accepts this offer and requests involvement in future planning for Large Trees in the DRA. 

Next Steps

We will meet with the Shire of Mundaring to discuss the creation of a plan.

What Can You Do?

Read the “Darlington Recreation Area Large Tree Inventory and Recommendations”.

This document, which you can download from here, provides a description of consultation undertaken and explains the reasoning behind the request for a plan. It is accompanied by the “Arboricultural Survey – Darlington Recreation Area 25th May 2020” a survey of all the trees of DRA from Bowden Tree Consultancy who provided his services in the interests of seeing more Large Trees in the village. They look lengthy and yet are mostly photos.

Read the Darlington Review each month for updates on our project

Watch for updates on the Facebook page “Darlington Hub”

Go into the recreation area with the maps from the Inventory (p 28-30) and find the coded trees. Say hello.

Water or weed any trees that look unwell. One day the small ones will be our shade.

If you have an interest in trees in any way contact the Large Tree Group Coordinator, Stacey August at stacey.august64@gmail.com

Get ready for the planting!