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Community replant native street trees after damage from tornado

Native Eucalyptus nicholii trees destroyed in the avenue of established trees along Erskine Street following last year’s tornado have been replanted by community members.

The above average rainfall experienced in the Armidale region due to La Nina has produced ideal growing conditions for establishing tree seedlings. A dedicated group of volunteers that regularly maintain native plantings along the Dumaresq Creeklands were eager to get new plants in to replace destroyed trees along Erskine Street.

Coordinator Public and Town Spaces Richard Morsley said Council usually plants more established, mature trees that are form pruned and provide an immediate result as part of our annual street tree program.

“The great growing conditions have seen these tubestock put on rapid growth already,” said Mr Morsley.

Community volunteer Helen Webb said local residents have been keen to see trees established in areas that were stripped of vegetation along the destructive path of the tornado.

“We regularly walk through the areas that were hit by the tornado, enjoying watching the range of different birds in the trees,” said Helen.

“It was so quiet and bare after the tornado, with no birds singing. The sooner we can select suitable species and replant, the sooner we can restore our greenspace and bird habitat. We are really pleased to have been able to get together with council to make a start.”

Eucalyptus nicholii or Narrow-leaved Black Peppermint are listed as vulnerable to extinction in NSW as well as nationally. These trees on the New England Tablelands ranging from Nundle in the south to Tenterfield in the north, however they have a very restricted natural distribution. They are found largely on private property and roadsides and occasionally in conservation reserves. Growing additional communities of these trees can help to reduce the risk of extinction for this species. When mature, they form an attractive tree that gives good shelter and habitat for birds.

Local volunteers including Helen Webb, Sebastian Hessleman and Dave Carr helped to get the trees in the ground and regularly assist Council, along with other volunteer groups, in managing plantings and weeding along the creeklands.

Council is assessing the tree replanting requirements for the areas affected by the tornado and has incorporated this into the annual street tree planting program.

“Eucalypts generally require large space in which to grow and are best for sites where litter can be maintained,” said Mr Morsley

“Narrow leafed peppermints had been planted along Erskine St in the 1970’s and this wide road reserve is suitable for this species. We are aiming to replant new introduced trees in the areas affected by the tornado where they were previously established, as part of the annual winter program.

Once we have established a schedule and secured the tree stock we will be encouraging residents to assist us in street tree planting days across the affected areas. Our street trees are a wonderful asset and provide shade and habitat throughout the year.”

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