Under the shade of a jacaranda tree?

TREES: Whyalla City councillor Sarah Minney has weighed in on the tree selection discussion and said an avenue of native trees like the ones pictured can be quite striking.
TREES: Whyalla City councillor Sarah Minney has weighed in on the tree selection discussion and said an avenue of native trees like the ones pictured can be quite striking.

While supporting Whyalla City councillor Colin Carter's ambition to see Whyalla become an attractive city the community can be proud of, councillor Sarah Minney does not believe that exotic trees are necessarily the answer.

With Cr Carter putting a hold on the greening Whyalla project, the option of what trees should be used is again open for discussion.

However Ms Minney said while she is passionate about trees and is a fan of exotics (non-natives), she believes tree selection needs to be looked at on a broader scale.

"As a council what we have done is try to find tree and median treatments that are in keeping with the existing architecture and street scopes of Whyalla but most importantly that are going to be aesthetically striking," Ms Minney said.

Currently the greening Whyalla project has seen a number of median strips fitted with a dripper irrigation system to water trees and grass.

Ms Minney said there are no dripper systems on the nature strips though so while the medians could feature exotic trees, the nature strips can only support natives.

"We can't plant exotics on the nature strips," Ms Minney said.

"It's going to be more than just the tree, it has to match with the nature strips.

"For example, if you planted plane trees in the median of Nicolson Avenue, it would look incongruous with the nature strips."

Ms Minney said the same trees for the whole city would also be impractical as they needed to reflect the areas they are planted in.

"The medians need to be striking but they also need to be sensitive to the areas around them," Ms Minney said.

Ms Minney said the now defunct Whyalla Street Tree working party had been trying to reflect this when looking at tree selection and had explored planting exotic trees.

"The Street Tree Working Party committee was attempting to look at tree selection from both a broad Whyalla-wide perspective as well as particular to the requirements of each street," Ms Minney said.

Ms Minney said when looking at tree selection, the varying environments within the city needed to be taken into consideration.

"With the old part of town, because it has a cooler climate and a higher rainfall, it can better support exotic trees such as white cedars and jacarandas but unfortunately Whyalla has saline soils that plane trees won't thrive in."

Ms Minney said the native variety, the angophora costata (smooth barked apple), was not a eucalypt despite many people mistaking it for one.

"It's not a eucalypt and in fact the corymbia ficifolia (red flowering gum) that has gone in on Nicolson Avenue/Bradford Street is also not a eucalypt," Ms Minney said.

"So it's the equivalent of a plane tree in that it has a growing habit similar to a plane tree as it has a distinct smooth trunk with shady canopy."

While the waterproofing and greening Whyalla projects have not seen the results that had been hoped for Ms Minney said there was hope yet for trees in Whyalla.

"It's really unfortunate that the waterproofing Whyalla project hasn't worked but there's enough passion about trees in Whyalla that I think we can make it work," Ms Minney said.

Ms Minney is hoping to initiate an adopt-a-tree program where residents can care for trees on their nature strips with regular watering and tending.

"There's no dripper systems in the nature strips so what we're looking at now is putting together an adopt-a-tree program for residential streets where a street can get together and commit to watering trees on the nature strips," Ms Minney said.

Ms Minney said a number of Whyalla residents were blessed with green thumbs and would be willing to care for a tree.

"I'm excited that other members of the community are passionate about trees," Ms Minney said.

Ms Minney said if suitable, those trees could even be exotics.

"The trees that are selected for those streets could very well be exotics depending on climate and soil condition in those streets," Ms Minney said.