- Written by Webmaster Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
Trees play a critical role in creating a cooler and more liveable region. As our city grows, Council is working to plant more trees to create a nicer place to live, work, and play. From suburban street trees, to our parks and reserves, to creating greener spaces in our city centres, Council’s tree planting and urban greening projects take many different shapes and forms, and is a key component of our Cooling the City program.
Benefits of trees
Trees provide a huge range of benefits to our local communities as well as our natural environment. Critically for areas like Western Sydney which experience extreme heat in summer, trees have been proven to be one of the most cost effective ways to help reduce urban heat, and create cooler urban spaces.
It has been well documented that trees contribute to a number of health benefits. This includes reducing our exposure to harmful UV, and boosting our mental health. Trees also improve how our suburbs and urban areas look and feel, making them more inviting and nicer to live in. Studies have shown that tree lined streets are highly valued, and bolster property values.
Trees also play a critical role in enhancing our natural environment. Not only do they provide habitat for birds and other animals, they help improve air quality by filtering our air. This improves the quality of the air we all breathe, but also helps to offset emissions. Trees also assist in improving the water quality of our local creeks and waterways by filtering out nutrients and other pollutants and reducing the volume of stormwater runoff.
Planting a tree on your property
In an area like Penrith, planting trees on your property is a great way of creating a nicer place to live. To help create a cooler home and yard, consider planting a deciduous tree on the north or western sides of your home to help shade it from the hot summer sun.
If you’d like to create habitat for local birds and animals and bolster local biodiversity, native trees are a great way of bringing extra life and vitality to your neighbourhood. Flowering trees can help pollinators like native bees, which are essential for growing food as well as helping our native plants reproduce.
If you’re interested in fresh produce, fruit trees are another great option to consider. Even dwarf varieties of citrus trees can be grown in pots, providing fresh produce and you can take them with you when you move.
For more information on planting a tree in your yard, have a chat with a local nursery or gardening centre for information on selecting the right tree for your yard. If you’re renting, you can approach your landlord and seek permission to plant a tree. For more information managing trees on your property such as trimming or removing, please visit here.
Council tree planting – the strategy behind our planting projects
Given all of the benefits of trees, it’s no wonder that Council is working to plant more of them. However, given how large our Council area is and the large amount of open space we have, it’s critical that we work strategically to create the best outcomes for our communities.
A key part of this work was undertaking a comprehensive heat sensor project to map summer air temperatures across the Penrith area and identify hotspot locations, so that we can start planting trees in the suburbs most vulnerable to heat. You can learn more about the project on this page of our website.
Following on from this heat sensor work, Council has developed a Green Grid Strategy which has been funded by the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Greenspace Program. The Strategy outlines key priorities for future tree planting and urban greening projects, and considers the hot spots identified in our heat sensor project, existing trees and natural bushland areas, our waterways and creeklines, active transport routes like multi use pathways, and open space areas like parks and reserves, as well as where our community members most vulnerable to heat live. We’re already working to create a cooler city centre, with projects such as City Park and Soper Place Revitalisation reducing surfaces like asphalt and creating more trees and greencover.
In order to increase our capacity to plant more trees, Council is also investing in our nursery. This will enable us to undertake far greater levels of tree planting than we have done in the past. The upgrades to the nursery include advanced automated greenhouses, improved spaces for propagating and growing plants, and sustainability upgrades including solar power and use of recycled water. The nursery will support a range of actions including Council tree planting, Bushcare and other biodiversity projects, as well as plants for community giveaways.
Council Tree planting projects
Below are just some of the recent projects Council has undertaken to plant trees across our region:
- In 2020, 340 semi mature trees were planted in Chameleon Reserve in Erskine Park. This project will boost local biodiversity, help reduce heat, and compliment future planned upgrades to this park. This was funded by the NSW Governments Five Million Trees program as well as Council’s Open Space Reinvestment program.
- In 2020, Council started a large program to increase shade across 90 local playgrounds. The project will take around three years, and increase shade through a mixture of tree planting and installing shade sails.
- Since 2017, our Bushcare team have planted around 10,000 plants. This includes planting by our community Bushcare volunteers, planting by contractors and Council staff, and planting at community events such as our Trees for Mum planting days.
- Council undertook a street tree planting pilot in St Marys in 2019. Close to 400 semi mature street trees were planted, to trial the tools and approaches needed to increase canopy levels in our urban streets. The learnings from this project have helped shape our most recent tree planting projects.
- Close to 99,000 native trees and other plants were planted as seedlings across urban reserves in South Penrith and Emu Plains in 2017. Funding assistance came from the Federal Government’s 20 Million Trees program, and the project focused on native species to increase biodiversity.
- Over 77,000 native trees and other plants were planted at Mountain View Reserve Cranebrook. This was a multiyear project which was completed in 2017, with funding assistance from the Federal Government. It included restoration of regionally significant wetlands used by migratory birds, as well as pathways and bird hides for recreational use by the local community.
- Since adopting our Cooling the City Strategy in 2015, we’ve given away over 5,500 plants and trees to local residents, at community events including NAIDOC Day, Real Festival, as well as other events, plus our One Tree Per Child program which was rolled out to local childcare centres.
Greening our City Grant
Council is planting 5,000 trees across our parks and nature strips, thanks to $1 million of funding from the NSW Government’s Greening our City program. Trees funded under this program will be planted in Penrith’s eastern most suburbs, including St Marys, North St Marys, Colyton, Oxley Park, St Clair, and Erskine Park. This grant funding received for our LGA is being matched by Council.
The suburbs selected for planting were strategically identified by Council given the potential risk that heat poses to our communities. Factors that were considered included heat mapping to identify hot spots, levels of tree canopy, and the profile of our residents – particularly those most likely to have their health impacted by heat.
Park tree planting work began in May 2021 and will be complete in approximately mid-2022. Street tree planting is scheduled to commence in February 2022.
You can read our media release about this project here: New Trees to Help Transform Penrith - Penrith City Council.
Or to find out more please visit: yoursaypenrith.com.au/greeningourcity