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Let’s save the trees: local Landcare President

Wednesday, 29th January, 2020

Simon Molesworth Simon Molesworth

Broken Hill is known as an oasis in the desert but the drought is threatening that reputation and we must do what we can to save our trees, according to Landcare Broken Hill’s president, Simon Molesworth.

Mr Molesworth said yesterday that Mayor Darriea Turley had “got it right” with her plea to citizens to help look after the city’s trees in streets and public places. 

Large numbers of trees are stressed and many have died, but Landcare Broken Hill said that by working together, we can all help save the trees that remain. 

“We support the Mayor’s call for people to help care for our city’s trees,” Mr Moleworth said. “It may be challenging, but it is not impossible.” 

There were some wonderful community-minded people who had already shown the way by caring for the trees outside their homes or businesses, he said, and Mayor Turley’s plea was made at the suggestion of one such person.

“Just travel around Broken Hill and you’ll see nature-strips where the trees in them are surviving because the people nearby have decided to help look after them,” Mr Molesworth said. 

“These thoughtful and caring people have shown the way, so everyone should try and follow their lead.”

Just a little amount of water, every now and again, was all that was needed.  

Mr Molesworth suggested allowing the water to slowly trickle around the tree so that it sinks in. Spreading a bit of mulch around also helped keep the soil moist, he said.

Grey water could also be used. 

“Put a few buckets in your shower recess, or in your bath, or put a plastic container in your hand basin and capture your washing water. Then carry your bucket of grey water out to a nearby tree and plant so as to help it live,” he said.  

“It is easier to keep a tree alive than trying to start again with a newly planted tree. 

“Of course, Landcare will be working with Council to encourage as many new trees are planted as possible, but when you’ve got an existing tree you’ve got a real head-start - it’s there, it’s living, and it’s cheaper to keep it going than starting over again, especially in the climatic conditions we are now experiencing”.   

 

Why should we care about trees in public places and along our streets?

* Science has proved that trees keep the temperature of urban areas cooler. In our climate, reducing the heat of our City is critical. 

* Trees provide much-needed shade, which makes for a more liveable city. It is more pleasant to walk along a shaded street. 

* Trees ensure we have a healthier environment, shady tree cover protects us from dangerous over-exposure to sunlight.

* Trees bind the soil, because their roots hold it together. Keeping our soil together is critically important in keeping the dust down.

* Trees lessen run-off, because they lessen the impact of strong rain, obstruct the flow of surface water and the roots absorb more.

* Trees contribute to the city being more pleasant and more attractive which makes it a better place to live and encourages visitors to appreciate and enjoy the place even more.

* Trees break the wind, slows it down. That’s better for our health, our properties and the environment. They help shield us from the worst effect of dust storms. 

* Broken Hill is Australia’s first National Heritage Listed city. Its character was recognised as having that of an oasis - an isolated, remote and resilient city in the midst of arid lands. Trees are an important part of its heritage character. They deserve to be protected 

* Finally, with the horrific losses across Australia this summer due to the bushfires, our environment needs to be cared for. Every tree is part of our green-lungs as it helps to purify our air; it’s a home for birds, a key part of our environment. We’ve seen too many special and beautiful places destroyed this summer for us to stand by and see more trees die. Every remaining tree in our city needs to be safeguarded - they are precious.

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