Urban Tree Conflicts Solved in Bendigo
by Kristyn M. Levis
The Citygreen® modular Stratacell system® answered another urban development issue in a streetscape project for the City of Greater Bendigo, Victoria.
The Edward Street revamping is part of a bigger makeover of the area with the construction of the new $14.9 million car park on the same street. The 420-park complex opened in July 2012.
Gary Lantzsch, landscape architect for the City of Greater Bendigo, said the Stratacells were placed on the Edward Street footpath around late 2012.
“Carparks are not usually seen as attractive structures but the architect produced something special. We needed to create a street scape to complement it,” Lantzsch said.
He added that they wanted to trial the tree cell because Bendigo predominantly uses Plane trees and they tend to have a fairly invasive nature when it comes to infrastructure, pipes and gutters.
“We are noticing now after planting these trees in the city for the last 15 years that a lot of the paving is heaving along with kerb and channel and damage to other infrastructure,” Lantzsch said.
“We still want trees, of course, because we want a beautiful environment. We looked for a solution that would enable us to still use trees but at the same time limit the damage and protect our infrastructure.”
Lantzsch said the Stratacell system was presented as a sound product in terms of research, logic, and the science behind it. “We wanted to protect infrastructure and provide optimum growing conditions, which this product offers.”
He added that they used some structural soil in the past and it was okay but had limited life before the invasiveness started to occur such as heaving. “Structural soil is good for trees with more passive root systems but trees like Planes can still cause heaving.”
Aside from the Stratacells, the project also used it in conjunction with anchors and root barriers. Root barriers are typically used to guide roots away from infrastructure The Citygreen root barriers include the ribbed modular units, ribbed linear material and also the dimpled and non-ribbed linear material.
Lantzsch said that aside from providing optimal growing conditions, the Stratacell system also offered several other benefits to the project.
“It’s always tricky. You want to provide trees with as much root growth potential as possible but that can depend on the surrounding infrastructure. The beauty of the cells is that you can have services like pipes and telecommunications go through it and you can work around it,” he said.
The Stratacells, however, were such a good fit with the overall design that they have used it again on the $3.8 million redevelopment of Mitchell Street. The Edward Street project was the first time that they’ve used the Stratacells.
“It’s like Lego, very lightweight and very easy to use. They didn’t have much trouble with the installation,” Lantzsch said. “The cells are also much more cost effective when you factor in the cost of infrastructure damage without them.”
“The trees would have looked great if not for the vandals snapping branches off. Some trees have been replaced and are now starting to look okay. There have been no issues with the cells after the project was finished.”
Lantzsch also said they experienced excellent after sales support from the company and they always received responses very quickly.
“When we explored the tree cells, Rod Gooden was there to ensure the soil mix was correct and to provide support to make sure we were doing it all properly. Arborgreen is fantastic to deal with. Very helpful and they provide excellent support,” he said.