Rescue efforts result in new homes for 300 year old trees and palms
In late February 2020, the Town’s Natural Areas and Urban Forest Strategy teams along with community volunteer groups worked together to successfully remove and replant 30 grass trees and zamia palms.
The 300 year old tree species were moved from the newly developed Kensington Fire Station to George Street Reserve revegetation site in a mammoth effort that involved:
identifying the right trees for transplanting, taking into consideration factors such as survival rates and biodiversity importance
excavating the trees with as much as the root ball as possible to ensure higher survival rates
trimming the crowns of the trees to reduce the water and food demand on the root ball for higher survival rate
transplanting to George Street Reserve revegetation site, monitoring and maintaining with weeding and watering, with the help of the Friends of Jirdarup Bushland group over the warmer months.
Stephen Szydlowski - the Town’s Natural Areas Team Leader - explains the importance of this project for our natural environment and the community at large.
“The grass trees (Xanthorrhoea preissii) and zamia palms (Macrozamia reidlei) have been growing for over three centuries. They are iconic plants for horticultural purposes and unique only to Australia,” said Stephen.
“The seven transplanted zamia palms are also living fossils from the time of the dinosaurs, meaning as a species they have not genetically changed since those times.”
“The Town’s and community's collaborative effort in negotiating with the landowners to remove and replant these ancient tree species, which were also a part of Kensington Bushland’s declared threatened ecological community, is so important to preserving not only a natural but also a historical heritage of our Town.”
“The transplanted grass trees and zamia palms have added to the diversity of George Street Reserve revegetation site - a major natural area resource that many locals and visitors connect with for wildflower walks, bird watching, bee awareness workshops and healthy, engaging community activities such as watering, weeding, planting and bush management programs.”
“Our rescue work here also shows the mutual focus that the Town and community have towards implementing the outcomes of our Urban Forest Strategy, especially around protecting our existing trees and biodiversity.”
Steve further explains that the continued visibility of these tree species in the Town’s popular recreational site can result in better appreciation and knowledge of its historical and ecological significance.
“Because these trees are iconic, they stand out, and are relatively low maintenance so a connection with them might encourage our residents, community groups and stakeholders to opt for them in future private and public landscaping projects,” commented Stephen.
“Lastly, our grass trees and zamia palms rescue and transplanting efforts make sure that the Town’s urban environment still provides a connected landscape for our local flora and fauna to continue moving around in their habitat.”
“This of course contributes enormously to maintaining the Town’s natural ecosystems that contributes to providing us with better soil, water and air quality and ultimately making our Town a healthier, greener and happier place to live in.”
Find out more about similar “Greening Vic Park” projects around Town that are contributing to our community-led Urban Forest Strategy.