Share your throughts on the CBD's street trees

by Urban Forest Team 4 Feb 2013, 4:03pm

Work is underway to develop an Urban Forest Precinct Plan for the CBD. All comments made on this online forum will be considered as contributions towards the development for the plan for the CBD. 

The CBD has a population of approximately 2,440 trees. In streets, the dominant trees are planes (74%), gums (7%) and waterhouseas (6%). Canopy cover in public streets and parks is 20% making it the fifth for canopy cover among Melbourne precincts.

By 2040, approximately 1,900 of the CBD’s trees will be gone because they have reached the end of their useful life expectancy. Approximately 90% of surfaces are hard and impermeable to water. Limited life expectancy, ongoing development, population growth and diversity challenges for our urban forest will factor heavily in the development of the CBD's Urban Forest Precinct Plan.


Comments (21) Expand All Replies

orro Comment 1 18 Feb 2013, 1:14 PM

The Council should start looking at a more porous paving surface that would allow water that falls on the footpath to seep into the soil below. To assist with this the Council should also introduce an awning tax (except on heritage awnings) to try and speed up the removal of awnings which are unnecessary and impede the planting of trees along stretches of road in the CBD. For example not a single tree between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane exists and the footpaths are amongst the dirtiest in Melbourne. If 50% of the awning were removed (only 4 or 5 more…


Urban Forest Team Comment 1.1 Team Leader, Tree Planning 19 Feb 2013, 12:18 PM

Thanks for your suggestion Orro. You are correct, porous paving would indeed allow for better water infiltration.

Work has just started in Collins Street between Elizabeth St and Queen Street to reconstruct the footpaths and incorporate porous paving along the alignment of the trees to capture runoff from the footpath surfaces and pass it through to the sub-soil below. This is the first project of its type and hopefully proves to be successful, so that future footpath upgrades can also be constructed similarly.

We'll take on board your suggestions for further planing.

Vic Comment 1.2 4 Mar 2013, 10:09 PM

I agree with porous paving - it is simple and sensible and probably cheaper than bluestone. I also think vacant land should be turned into temporary parks to support biodiversity and provide new recreational space for people. I would be great to have pocket parks where you could have your lunch on a sunny day in the CBD...

livingcity Comment 2 20 Feb 2013, 7:02 PM

I know it doesn't constitute a street tree, but has council ever looked at turfing the area between tram tracks? I noticed recently on the light rail proposal in Sydney that it seems to be a feature. I have also seen turfed tram tracks in many cities overseas. Besides the ongoing maintenance and perhaps irrigation needs it would be a great addition to certain tram lines; outside the art centre for example.

Urban Forest Team Comment 2.1 Team Leader, Tree Planning 25 Feb 2013, 1:14 PM

Thank you for your question. Council has considered turfing between tram tracks but, because we experience extended dry periods each summer, the high water use and difficult maintenance requirements are a deterrent. For that reason we prefer to plant and maintain grass in locations where it can be used by the community.

Charlie Comment 2.2 25 Feb 2013, 4:47 PM

This would be a good solution for spaces that are not suitable for tree planting. Although it doesn't provide shade, it will still transpire and be a lot cooler than apshalt on a hot day (and look much better!)

Charlie Comment 3 25 Feb 2013, 4:53 PM

It would be great to see more diversity of tree species in the CBD, each street could have its own signature tree species and tell its own story

Urban Forest Team Comment 3.1 Team Leader, Tree Planning 28 Feb 2013, 8:47 AM

Thanks for your comment Charlie. We agree that there is a real need to increase tree species diversity in the CBD. How we increase diversity will definitely be a feature of the upcoming workshop and the precinct plan. If you are free, please add your voice to the workshop.

Goodwoodie Comment 3.2 14 Mar 2013, 7:24 PM

Weed status is a consideration, and whether or not native species are selected. Euclaypts and related trees dominate the street tree environment while native rainforest trees are under-represented (except if they are weeds).

From the paper: "An Analysis of the Street Tree Population of Greater Melbourne at the Beginning of the 21st Century", Stephen Frank, Glenn Waters, Russell Beer, and Peter May, Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 32(4): July 2006,

below are some of the trees listed that have weed potential.

Purple-leaf cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’) ? cultivar of significant minor

Yellow gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon)

Willow myrtle (Agonis flexuosa)

Desert ash (Fraxinus angustifolia spp. more…


orro Comment 4 5 Mar 2013, 8:43 PM

I think the other approach would be lush vegetation. There must be some hardy plants that grow under the tree canopies that can be planted in areas where people don't walk or can't walk. All those areas under the train via ducts should be like a beautiful green house. Some of the concrete pavers around Southbank should be dug up and replaced with hardy shrubs. For example the area in front of Eureka is just a concrete mess that absorbs heat and when it rains water just pools in areas. City Rd could also be properly planted with trees in the existing centre strip as could Power Street have more trees in it's centre strip. I'm sure if you did an audit of all spaces in Melbourne you could easily identify space for 500 or more trees.

Urban Forest Team Comment 4.1 Team Leader, Tree Planning 6 Mar 2013, 1:20 PM

Thanks Orro. We are keen to explore opportunities to add understorey structure below tree canopies or other forms of greening in spaces where trees can't be planted. An audit or opportunities assessment would be a great way to find those spaces. If there are other locations in the city that you would like to see planted, you can also add them to our interactive map at

orro Comment 5 6 Mar 2013, 5:46 PM

I can't get the app to work. I keep getting an upload error. I tried 3G and wifi.

Urban Forest Team Comment 5.1 Team Leader, Tree Planning 12 Mar 2013, 9:22 AM

Hi Orro, sorry to hear you have had difficulty. Was it a text only report or did it include a photo? I just tested it using an Android phone and the report uploaded successfully. I will test it on Apple also and let you know the outcome.

orro Comment 6 12 Mar 2013, 1:21 PM

It was an pop up message on the screen. Still can't get it to work.

Urban Forest Team Comment 6.1 Team Leader, Tree Planning 13 Mar 2013, 5:15 PM

Hi Orro, the site seems to be functioning but there may be an issue with the app that explains the error. This is a pilot of the site so we do want to find out about any technical difficulties encountered! To enable you to contribute to the site, submissions can be entered online rather than through the app at:

Alternatively, you can email me your location/s and comments to amelia.needoba[at], and I will upload them online as an anonymous user.

Fran Comment 7 27 Mar 2013, 1:04 PM

Having lived in Queen Street, Melbourne 3000 for 14 years I am craving greenery. The more we can have the better. We have parks but it is not sufficient. One walks outside onto the street and the surroundings are dismal. We love the trees that exist but they are not sufficient.

Apartment blocks are built with no green spaces around them. This is a serious lack in an otherwise good place to live.

Please can we have more greenery especially European trees which have such a refreshing effect on their surroundings in the warmer months.

Urban Forester Comment 7.1 27 Mar 2013, 4:21 PM

Thank you for your comment Fran. We are looking to increase the canopy cover in the CBD and across Melbourne. The urban forest strategy has set a target of 40% in the public realm. It is great to hear that you love our trees and want more! If you are free, please attend the CBD workshop in May. The links to register are on the side bar of this home page.

KAW Comment 8 25 Apr 2013, 9:26 PM

Please please please consider low allergy species! The plane trees cause a lot of issues for a lot of people in spring & summer.

Urban Forest Team Comment 8.1 Team Leader, Tree Planning 26 Apr 2013, 10:29 AM

Hello KAW, we are actively seeking ways to reduce the impact of our existing plane tree population without having to lose the fantastic canopy that these trees are currently providing in many streets. Future species selection will avoid planting trees that are known to cause significant irritant or allergenic responses and the population of plane trees in Melbourne will decrease over time as trees reach the end of their useful life expectancy and are replaced.

melissag Comment 9 28 Apr 2013, 9:51 AM

Please consider including a significant edible food forest to put Melbourne "on the map" in terms of local and innovative food production and distribution. When I say "significant", I mean something akin to the 7-acre food forest approved in Seattle (a more local example includes the 5-acre food forest to be established in Dayelsford). Food security is an issue that requires attention (see Melbourne Council's own Food Security strategy as well as that of Maribyrnong, Darebin, Hobsons Bay Councils). Equally, we need to greatly increase opportunities for people to participate in urban agriculture to reap the benefits of "growing community", improved food literacy and similar. These opportunities for participation are especially needed for urban city dwellers, many of which don't have their own backyards. Opportunities for participation in urban agriculture should also have regard to different cultural and marginalised groups, see the power of community gardening in the case of the Karen refugees that have been settled in Nhill (see Thanks!

Bruce Poon Comment 10 1 May 2013, 10:51 AM

The urban forest strategy needs to work for non-human animals as well as ratepayers. I notice some good comments in the video from Cathy Oke in this regard. In order to improve the amenity for indigenous fauna, the majority of new trees should be natives, with the inclusion of a range of native wildflowers. Providing food, perching and nesting areas for native animals and birds should be a primary consideration, along with corridors of movement (and areas of exclusion where sensible to avoid human/animal conflict).