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Brand new look for Tree-stern Avenue

Lane Sainty reports on the University’s seismic changes to a popular campus thoroughfare.

Eastern Avenue has been spruced up with 36 new trees after the existing ones were removed for safety reasons.

After one tree fell over in heavy winds in 2013, the Sydney red gums (Angophora costata) underwent a comprehensive investigation carried out by a crack team of soil scientists, consultant arborists and the Royal Botanic Gardens Plant Disease Diagnostic Unit.

The investigation found the remaining trees carried the same safety risk as the one that had fallen over. A decision was subsequently made to remove them after consultation with the City of Sydney Council.

“The University was really disappointed to have to remove the trees, but we acted on expert advice and the safety of our students, staff and visitors to our campus must come first,” said Mick Sadler, Acting Landscape and Grounds Manager at USyd.

Now, the University has branched out into a new species of tree – Australian teak (Flindersia australis), a native rainforest tree from New South Wales. Students on Instagram will be pleased to note Australian teak flowers in the spring.

“As Eastern Avenue has such a high profile it is essential that the species planted along it be uniform in size and canopy shape and the Flindersia australis will effectively achieve this outcome to create a beautiful tree lined boulevard,” Sadler said.

“The Flindersia australis will broaden our tree species across campus, especially with the families of native trees and will make a great addition to our biodiversity.”

Eastern Avenue has been under construction for weeks as the trees were removed and replaced. However, removal of the temporary fences around the new trees started this week.

Thirty new planter boxes have also been installed on Eastern Avenue.

Those who take a keen interest in the botanical aspects of Eastern Avenue may also be interested to know the future of the former reflection pond by City Road is up for debate.

Since the reflection pond was drained, the space has become home to hundreds of pot plants that are periodically replaced, rather than becoming a permanent garden bed.

When asked why this was the case, Sadler told Honi the pot plants was a “temporary solution” and that a more permanent feature is being investigated.