Street Trees

13/11/2020

Not a fan of street trees? Think again! They do more for us than you might realise...

Street trees make a city more beautiful but we all know they can have their downsides. For one, they never clean up after themselves! They can drop leaves, fruit and twigs for humans to deal with. Occasionally their roots can get into faulty underground pipes or damage paving and road surfaces. Large trees, if left unpruned, can sometimes interfere with overhead powerlines.

It’s true that street trees aren't perfect. But they also provide a wide range of benefits that can outweigh the issues that sometimes crop up.

Why have street trees if they cause problems?

The short answer is because they provide many benefits and any problems they occasionally cause can be avoided or reduced.

Our knowledge and technologies have improved greatly over time which allows us to reduce any negatives effects of street trees. Ways we can do this include planting the right kinds of trees in the right places, improving planning on how trees and infrastructure can exist together along streets and by using appropriate methods or devices to keep tree roots away from infrastructure.

In the past, not all of our street trees planted were the best species or in the best locations.  But as our knowledge and experience has grown in recent years, we are now working to correct these issues and ensure that all future trees are the best types and in appropriate locations. Some problems with existing trees can also be fixed by doing simple things work such as pruning, which allows us to still get the benefits that those trees provide. 

So what do trees do for us?

Some of the benefits trees provide are:

  • Trees bring beauty to city streets - without them, streets can seem bare and unwelcoming. An attractive city helps a community feel proud
  • Trees provide shade on sunny days and also help cool the air around them by releasing water vapour. This can be really important for pedestrians, cyclists, people using mobility scooters, etc. trying to get from A to B on a hot summer's day
  • Street trees increase the value of nearby properties
  • Trees provide oxygen (which we can’t live without)
  • They provide multiple health benefits, help us feel relaxed and have even been found to reduce some types of crime
  • They can help reduce flooding
  • They provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife
  • They remove carbon from the air which helps to counter the effects of climate change
  • In urban streets, they can help reduce traffic accidents

 

Street Trees Diagram

Image: A few of the benefits that trees provide 

When will/won’t Council consider removing a tree?

Street trees are planted to provide benefits to the community and they are actually worth a lot of money. Tree removal is considered on a case-by-case basis, but Council won't consider removing a tree because of falling leaves, twigs, fruit or flowers. That is just a normal thing that trees do. We will also not remove a tree to improve the view from a nearby residence.

Council will always consider removing a tree where it is necessary to protect human health, safety and property (for example, where there is a risk of falling tree limbs). Trees may also need to be removed where they are damaging infrastructure (such as footpaths or underground pipes) or or obstructing access. We may remove trees that have been planted without consent on Council land.

Council will undertake remedial works (like pruning, branch removal, etc) instead of removing a whole tree if this will resolve the issue. If a tree must be removed, Council will generally replace it with one that is more appropriate, where this is possible.

How to request a tree inspection or tree works

If you would like to request a Council tree be pruned, inspected or possibly removed you can contact us through our website, call us on (03) 6216 6800 or send an email to gccmail@gcc.tas.gov.au.

You should make sure you provide a the exact location of the tree is and clearly explain of what the problem is. You will also need to provide us with your contact details if you want to be kept up-to-date on the progress of your request. 

Do not consider removing a Council tree yourself or you could face unwelcome legal and financial consequences.

If the problem is caused by trees on TasWater's sewerage and water pipes, visit the TasWater website (external site) or phone 13 69 92.