Street tree species
What makes a good street tree for Hobsons Bay?
There is no perfect street tree for every setting. Rather, there are trees that are right for their location. Trees near traffic need to withstand car exhaust fumes whereas those near the foreshore must withstand salt spray and wind. Good street trees need to be tough - they shouldn’t suffer cracks or be prone to falling limbs and they should adapt well to regular pruning. They should have deep roots so they don't crack the surrounding pavement, and they should move through each season of flowering and fruiting with minimum mess and maximum beauty. The following are examples of good street trees for Hobsons Bay:
Jacaranda mimosifolia - jacaranda
Pyrus calleryana 'Capital' - Callery pear (‘Capital' variety)
Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer' - Callery pear (‘Chanticleer’ variety)
Fraxinus pennsylvanica - green ash (several varieties)
Tristaniopsis laurina - kanooka or water gum
Acer x freemanii - red maple
Ulmus procera 'Royal Pde' - English elm
Ulmus parvifolia - Chinese elm
Lagerstroemia indica - Crepe myrtle
Lophostemon confertus - brush box
The majority of the above trees are deciduous, providing much-needed shade in summer while allowing in heat during winter. Olive trees can be found throughout Hobsons Bay and they are especially common in Altona North. The various pear species are common across Williamstown, Newport and the northern end of Millers Road. The Kanooka tree, common to riverbanks in NSW, is best viewed along Burt Street or Brook Drive in Altona. Others like the common Hornbeam (a Eurasian tree), the Green Ash (a North American tree), the Hybrid Red Maple, or the native White Cedar (common to rainforests up north) are newer plantings for Hobsons Bay.
Elms are a familiar sight in Williamstown and, having avoided the ravages of Dutch Elm disease, Melbourne can purport to be the Elm capital of the world. Plantings of the ‘Royal Parade’ variety, in particular, will continue around Hobsons Bay.
Crepe Myrtles are unmistakeable and provide a radiant summer backdrop with their beautiful blossoms of brightly coloured flowers to a few streets in Altona, Williamstown and Newport.
Hobsons Bay can also substitute for a rainforest for some trees. The Brush Box, for instance, can live for over 500 years– but it is also one of Melbourne’s most common street trees and a number grow along Civic Parade and Blackshaws Road. This species tolerates heavy pruning and its broad lush green canopy greatly helps in the reduction of the heat island effect.
PHOTO: the bright blossom of a crepe myrtle (left), the lilac flowers of the jacaranda (top right) and the light green serrated leaves of an English elm (bottom right).