“Earlier this year community feedback was invited on the landscaping vision for Northbourne Avenue as part of Capital Metro’s urban design consultation,” says Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell.
“As a result of this consultation and of further advice from industry experts the Eucalyptus mannifera has been selected as the preferred species to be the fourth generation of trees along the Northbourne Avenue corridor.
“The selection of Eucalyptus mannifera was made following extensive consultation with the public and experts and included input from Parks and Territory Services, dsb Landscape Architects, an expert arborist, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Provincial Nursery and Yarralumla Nursery.
“I am pleased to say that this tree selection has been endorsed by National Capital Authority.”
Earlier work had identified the Eucalyptus rossii, better known as Scribbly Gum, as a possible new species for the median on Northbourne Avenue. However further analysis of the existing soils within the Northbourne Avenue median found the soil make-up could impact on the success of Eucalyptus rossii.
“Eucalyptus mannifera is a local species that occurs naturally on Black Mountain and in many areas throughout the Gungahlin region. Grown for its ornamental value, it is an attractive, stately tree that is also widely planted in Canberra as an urban tree with more than 100,000 planted in streets and parks,” says Mr Corbell.
“There are many fine examples of Eucalyptus mannifera planted across the city including in some of the older streets in Canberra such as in the median of Captain Cook Crescent in Griffith, on the verges of Northbourne Avenue and in the verges at the southern end of Mugga Way in Red Hill.”
The selection of a suitable replacement tree species for the Northbourne corridor is significant as it represents the fourth generation of trees to be planted within the median since around 1913.
“Many of the trees remaining in the median on Northbourne Avenue are in decline and will need to be replaced in the near future regardless of the light rail project,” Mr Corbell said.
“Between 2010 and 2014 the number of trees on the Northbourne Avenue and Federal Highway median of the light rail corridor reduced from 802 to just 484 through failing health, storm damage and removal of dead and dangerous trees. Furthermore, the 2014 assessment of the trees in the corridor found only 59 per cent of the remaining trees were healthy.
“The selection of a suitable species to replace the current Eucalyptus elata trees is important as it creates the sense of arrival to the nation’s capital. The overarching landscape design for light rail, including the selection of Eucalyptus mannifera, will uphold the grand boulevard character of Northbourne Avenue.”