Higgins Park Illawarra flame trees put down new roots
In the first week of April, three Illawarra flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolius) in the Higgins Park Tennis Club were relocated 100m from their original spot.
These beautiful trees went through a relocation process as part of the tennis club upgrade and extension, which included new hard courts, lighting and introduction of croquet courts to the site.
Paul Williams, the Town’s project officer for infrastructure operations managed not only the upgrade project but also the tree relocation efforts.
“With the upgrade of the Higgins Park Tennis Club, the Town aimed to make it even safer, better and more enjoyable for our residents, community members and groups, and visitors to exercise at the club,” said Paul.
An important consideration for this upgrade and extension project was the relocation of the three Illawarra flame trees, which Paul commented was guided by the Town’s community-led Urban Forest Strategy (UFS).
“The Town’s Urban Forest Strategy focuses on creating a healthy urban environment for Victoria Park, its residents and community, with a goal for 20% tree canopy cover,” explained Paul.
“One way that the Strategy’s Implementation Action Plan has identified to achieve this goal is to protect existing trees on public land.”
While it is not always possible to relocate trees within the Town, Paul indicated that one of the main considerations is if the tree is healthy and strong enough to survive being removed and replanted.
In the case of the Illawarra flame trees, Paul indicated that they are healthy with good shape and form - a good example of the species - which have grown successfully over the years with access to sun, lots of space and regular watering.
“As part of the Town’s efforts to ensure the survival of the relocated trees, we have made sure the trees’ new home is only 100m away - still in the park with the same environmental ecosystem.”
The new location for the Illawarra flame trees is in the grass area between the refurbished tennis club and the Higgins Park hill. The new area - like the trees’ previous spot - has access to sun, lots of space to grow and is regularly watered as part of the Town’s parks maintenance.
With winter ahead, the Illawarra flame trees are expected to continue to flourish and bloom their spectacular flowers, as the tree species lose their leaves in summer rather than winter.
“The Town is monitoring the trees as they put down new roots at Higgins Park, providing more shade and protection for community members visiting or exercising in the park, whilst also offering food and sanctuary for local fauna,” said Paul.
This relocation project is one of many that the Town is committed to.
The project is in line with the Urban Forest Strategy’s focus of protecting the Town's trees and continuing efforts to preserve and increase canopy cover, all of which contribute to a healthier, happier and ‘greener’ Town to live in.
Find out more about similar “Greening Vic Park” projects around Town that are contributing to our community-led Urban Forest Strategy.