Villa Maria Catholic Homes
Suite B 2 Domville Ave
Hawthorn Vic 3122
re: 62 Jacksons Road, Mulgrave Introduction
I am informed that Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) is lodging a permit application for a staged development at 62 Jacksons Road Mulgrave. An age in place village facility is proposed comprising the establishment of a Retirement Village with associated community facilities, a medical centre and a residential aged care facility. The 10 acre site has operated as a seminary for the Oblate order. There are many trees on the site, all of which are claimed to have been planted by the Oblates within the last 50 years. Galbraith and Associates has been requested by VMCH to assess all the trees to determine their species, condition, size and status as natives, origin, and in the case of the site trees, worth for retention. Tree protection zones according to the relevant Australian Standard 4970: 'Protection of trees on development sites' are provided, along with any relevant recommendations, for the higher worth site trees and the neighbouring or street trees within 3m of the site.
Each tree is located and numbered on the accompanying four copies of the existing site conditions survey and described in the accompanying excel table of data.
The Trees- General
There are approximately 245 trees or groups such as cypress rows on the site. The great majority are likely to have been planted within the last 50 years.
There are four indigenous species of tree present, however I would suggest that only one of these, namely the Mealy Stringybark (Eucalyptus cephalocarpa), has members which are likely to be naturally occurring and self-sown. It is also possible that one of the River Red Gums, tree 210, is self-sown. Of the likely self-sown Mealy Stringybarks, tree 6 is situated just outside the site on the Jacksons Rd frontage. Two others (trees 212 and 218) are located just inside the site on its northern boundary. A fourth smaller Eucalyptus cephalocarpa, tree 190, is also likely to have been self-sown. None is particularly large, however each of the four is in fairly good condition with long safe useful life expectancies (SULEs).
Individuals of other indigenous trees which are present include five River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, trees 132 to 136 & 210) and a couple of Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora, trees 79 and 137). These are not local provenance. They are in variable condition. The only other indigenous tree likely is tree 184, a Swamp Gum, which is also likely to have been planted. This tree is hazardous with a massive co-dominant stem to the south at risk of collapse.
In terms of both number and stature, the trees on the site are dominated by about 75 Spotted Gums (Corymbia maculata), a species whose natural distribution includes Victoria. Located principally near the western edge of the site, they are in most cases healthy, hardy, sound trees but as is typical of the species, they have branch shed propensities to varying degrees, a phenomenon which will increase over time. Other Victorian species on the site are of little or no significance due to their poor condition, likelihood of future failures and/or small size. They include Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon), Southern Mahogany (Eucalyptus botryoides), Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa), Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and many Bracelet Honey-myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris).
Trees native to states other than Victoria are similarly in fair or poor condition and often small. Some are drought-stressed and require irrigation e.g. the four Queensland Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus). A stout-trunked Red-flowering Gum (tree 27), while smallish, has substantial appeal. Other Australian species include Lemon-scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora), Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna), Bushy Sugar Gum (Eucalyptus cladocalyx ‘Nana’), a couple of casuarinas and about 20 Snow-in-Summer (Melaleuca linariifolia).
Two of the exotic (non-Australian) trees on the site can be seriously considered for retention, namely a Dutch Elm (Ulmus X hollandica, tree 28) and a Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua, tree 41). Other exotics are of considerably lower significance, because of their small size and/or limited useful life. They include a row of about 40 Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), an English Oak (Quercus robur, tree 208) and a group of five Ornamental Pears (Pyrus calleryana cultivar).
Given that the site is over 0.4Ha, a permit is required to remove native vegetation, subject to exemptions. One of these exemptions is if:
"The native vegetation has been planted or grown as a result of direct seeding for Crop raising, Extensive animal husbandry, aesthetic or amenity purposes, including: agroforestry (the simultaneous and substantial production of forest and other agricultural products from the same land unit), shelter belts, woodlots, street trees, gardens or the like."
Another exemption is if the trees are re-growth of less than 10 years of age.
Thus of all the trees within the site, only trees 190, 212 and 218 are likely to require a permit to remove as they are the only examples of native indigenous trees which are likely to have been self-sown, although there is a small possibility that tree 210 is self-sown.
In order to understand the column headings of the table of data, I have provided the following explanations:
DBH diameter of trunk over bark at breast height In a number of cases where the tree has forked into multiple trunks below breast height (1.3-1.5m) the diameter is measured below the fork and an estimate is made for the single trunk equivalent at breast height, or else figures for each of the individual stems can be given.
HxS This is the estimated height (H) of the tree and its average crown spread (S).
SULE Safe useful life expectancy in years. Taken in the context that the area is to be developed for residential use, and that sensible distances are maintained between the buildings and the trees, this is the estimate of time that the tree will continue to provide useful amenity without imposing an onerous financial burden in order to maintain relative safety, and avoid excessive nuisance.
Condition This descriptor can be encapsulated by three terms, namely Health (H), Structure (S) and Form (F).
Health is largely governed by the ease in which the metabolic functions are occurring throughout the tree. Symptoms of health include the amount, distribution, density, size and colour of the foliage.
Structure refers to the structural stability of the tree and its branches. A well structured tree is not likely to shed branches or stems, or snap in the trunk or blow over, whereas a poorly structured tree is more likely to.
Form basically refers to the symmetry of the tree. A tree with a straight trunk and symmetrical crown and evenly distributed branches is referred to as having good form, whilst a lopsided leaning tree may have fair – poor form.
Worthiness of Retention (WOR):
The worth for retention of a tree is based on the assumption that the site is to be re-developed, and that there is the opportunity for new tree planting. It is based on a number of factors. These factors are:
structure, health, form and safe useful life expectancy,
size, prominence in the landscape,
whether an environmental weed.
importance for habitat of native wildlife
whether of historical or cultural interest
Any tree with a WOR rating of 3 or less should be seriously considered for removal before development begins because it is dead, nearly dead or dangerous, a weed, is causing or is likely to cause a severe nuisance in the near future, or just of very little significance and readily replaceable with new plantings. Trees rated 4-6 are of some significance. Some of these trees may respond to treatments such as formative pruning, removal of dead wood, weight reduction pruning etc. Trees rated 7 or higher are of high significance (the higher the ranking the more so), primarily because of their good health, structure, form, prominence in the landscape and SULE, although all they still may need substantial works done on them as already detailed, if they are to be retained.
Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) According to the Australian Standard AS 4970-2009 ‘Protection of Trees on Building Sites’, the TPZ is the principal means of protecting trees on development sites. It is a combination of the root area and crown area requiring protection. It is an area isolated from construction disturbance, so that the tree remains viable.’ The radius of the TPZ is calculated by multiplying the DBH by 12. The radius is measured from the centre of the stem at ground level. An area of 10% of the TPZ is deemed acceptable to violate if 10% of the area of the TPZ is made up in other directions. Thus if encroachment is from one side only, encroachment to as close as approximately 8 times the DBH (2/3 the listed TPZ radius) is permissible according to the Standard. The AS 4970-2009 should only be construed as a rough guide. It is only used in this statement because various local authorities now demand it in their assessments of development applications. Many factors such as the type of encroachment on the TPZ, species tolerance, age, presence of spiral grain, soil type, soil depth, tree lean, the existence of onsite structures or root directional impediments, level of wind exposure, irrigation and ongoing tree care and maintenance are each highly influential on the size and success of the TPZ estimation, therefore the figures derived from the Standard and provided in this report must be treated as rough guides only.
Each tree has been classified as to whether it is indigenous (I), native to Victoria (V), native to Australia (A), exotic (E) or an environmental weed (W).
An indigenous species (I) is one that is known to grow naturally in the local area, even if the individual tree has been planted and is from a seed source or provenance foreign to the area.
A species classified V is one which has a part or all, even if very small, of its natural range within Victoria, although it may occur outside the state as well. It does not however occur naturally in the local area.
A species classified A is native elsewhere in Australia than Victoria. It does not occur naturally in the local area.
A species classified E has its natural range occurring outside Australia.
A species classified W is a seriously invasive environmental weed.
GALBRAITH & ASSOCIATES