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It’s not just the local municipality that is investing in street trees. Increasing numbers of residents take the time to plant up the ground around tree trunks outside their homes. The tree pits close to the corner of Culford Road and Englefield Road, for example, have the feel of a wild meadow, while others in the area boast prim displays of bedding plants or herbs. Across the area, young street trees bear signs beseeching residents to use their old bath water to keep them watered. “It’s important that people learn to love their trees and take ownership of them,” says Burke.
Jael was raised in a family where tree planting was the summer normal, although she never participated. “I haven’t tree planted in the past,” she said. “And I never really thought I could do it. But the question of what if always sat in the back of my head.” Her parents, Rod and Deb Reimer of Rock Reforestation have been active in the tree planting community together since 1986. Rod had 11 years experience before their marriage. So for Jael, the answer for a summer job was under her nose.
Our landscape-scale study was based on an area analysis of all age-classes of mountain ash forest that burnt in the 2009 Kilmore and Murrindindi fires. Our study demonstrated conclusively that the Kilmore and Murrindindi fires burnt through forests irrespective of their tenure. It mattered not if the forest was managed for timber harvesting or national park or any other value – all of these areas burnt with the exception of some young post-harvesting regrowth. It is equally obvious that the recent fires in 2019-20 burnt through hundreds of thousands of hectares of national parks, distant and remote from timber harvesting areas.
Many urban trees live only about 20% of their normal life expectancy because of external issues such as pests and disease, but most stress can be linked back to improper care and installation, Kelly Allsup, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, said.
A recent United States Department of Agriculture paper analyzing tree life expectancy in urban areas found the typical street tree lived between 19 and 28 years. To compare, the ideal life span of a white oak is 600 years, and the average life span of a red maple can be between 75 to 150 years in Midwest wilds.