Good Landscaping is a key component to any infrastructure project whether it be housing, schools, golf courses or aged care facilities, but all too often it can be marred by the wrong plant selection.
Arbor Operations Peter Mumford said people make the mistake of going for the immediate wow factor of a finished project rather than considering the long term growth and impact of the species that’s been chosen.
Choose your tree carefully
People plant trees to fit in with their design and often the size of the tree when it’s mature isn’t taken into account. The outside area is designed and planted out in a way that it looks effective immediately, but in five to ten years’ time the tree has outgrown its space. When this happens its root system or crown may start to impact on infrastructure and it will then it need to be removed. This means you have not only lost a valuable plant but also growing time, all which could have been avoided simply by selecting a more appropriate species in the first place.
Peter Mumford said this is something he sees on a regular basis with new developments including schools some of the worst offenders.
“With new developments designers have grandiose ideas and put in plenty of trees but in five years’ time we find ourselves having to remove them because they’ve been planted in inappropriate spaces like under the eaves of the buildings,” Mr Mumford said.
“It looks great on opening day when they cut the ribbon, but long term it will cost them more money to get them removed and another tree replanted,” he said.
Choosing the right tree species for the right place is incredibly important particularly when it’s near any infrastructure including footpaths.
Trees that release prolific seeds or fruit may create a slip hazard. They can also block up the gutters creating potential flood issues.
Mistakes even landscape architects can make
Anyone designing an outdoor area near infrastructure really needs to get the right advice on trees and plants from the outset.
They need to be sure if a tree is right for the space, look at how big it will grow, determine if the ground space is adequate and whether there is sufficient soil volume to sustain what has been selected.
“Species like ficus (fig) trees should never be planted near buildings or infrastructure as their root system can extend up to 100 metres,” Mr Mumford said.
“People also need to be wary of other species that have shallow rooted systems, as these can skip across the top of the soil profile and create dangerous trip hazards,” he said.
We should be planting species into prepared mediums which promote deeper root growth and selection should be based on your geographic location and its ability to sustain dry conditions.
Soil selection and management is also key as often around building works the profile can become compacted and promote shallow root systems development, which will make trees less resilient in Australia’s hot, dry conditions.
Mr Mumford said this is something all landscapers and landscape architects need to take into account.
“While the design might be visually appealing on the computer, they need to also consider whether the trees are sustainable or likely to be resilient for the long term.”
For more information about how to avoid a costly mistake on your landscaping project go to www.arboroperations.com.au