Indigenous trees suited to the Dingley Village climate and conditions are being planted now on the former golf course site on Centre Dandenong Road. The plantings are replacements for old and damaged trees removed under permit from Kingston Council.
In some cases Council nominated a one-for-one replacement while in others it directed a two-for-one replacement. In time the trees will provide habitat for a wide variety of birds, insects and small mammals, along with shade and colour for residents to enjoy.
Five different varieties, carefully selected by experienced arborists to suit the environment, are among more than 50 planted recently.
Here’s a brief description of the new trees and what residents and neighbours can expect.
Rough-barked Manna Gum
Eucalyptus viminalis subsp. Pryoriana
The Rough-barked Manna Gum is native to much of southern Victoria, especially in or near coastal sands. It can grow from five to 15 metres, with its white flowers prominent through summer.
An excellent shade tree, it provides food and habitat for birds, possums and caterpillars. “Manna” refers to the sugary sensation of the young leaves that provide a high-energy food source for tree-dwelling marsupials.
The tree’s blackish-brown bark is rough and flaky on the trunk and larger branches, and smooth on the smaller branches. Its leaves grow to 10 to 20 cm long and are a mid-green colour on both sides.
Also known as the Gippsland Manna Gum, it is very tolerant of salt-laden coastal winds and extreme temperatures, and plays a role in countering erosion.
The Narrow-leaf Peppermint is an important habitat tree, providing nectar and seed for insects and birds, along with nesting hollows.
An attractive tree with drooping foliage, it is a common forest tree of ranges north of the Great Dividing Range, from the mountains at the Victorian border with NSW to the Wombat State Forest, the Otway Ranges and many ranges in South Gippsland.
With a life span of 80 years, the trees grow to 40 metres, have finely fibrous rough bark, narrow green peppermint scented leaves, plus small buds and cup-shaped fruit. Its small creamy white flowers appear from October through to January.
This form of eucalypt – radiata – is one of the varieties used in aromatherapy oils.
The Saw Banksia is just one of 173 Banksia species. Its rugged bark, serrated leaves and large flowers give it a distinctive appearance. Plants may grow from two to 12 metres.
Banksias occur around nearly all of Australia’s coastline and are an important part of the flora of Australia’s eastern coast.
The flower heads are made up of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of tiny individual flowers grouped together in pairs. The flower heads of the Saw Banksia (technically known as the Banksia serrata, and also called the Old-man banksia) are greenish yellow and open from summer to winter.
The fruits of banksias (called follicles) are hard and woody and protect the seeds from foraging animals and from fire.
The River Red Gum is the most widespread species of eucalypt in Australia, occurring in every mainland State, especially along rivers and flood-plains. It dominates, for example, the Murray-Darling river system. Known also as the Murray Red Gum, Red Gum, and River Gum, it grows to 40 metres with a large spreading crown.
First Nations people have used the iconic tree for making canoes and shields.
The wood is highly prized for heavy construction, railway sleepers, fencing, wood turning, firewood and charcoal production. It is also an important source of honey.
Its technical name, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, stems from the Camalduli in Italy where a tree was grown in a private estate garden in the early 19th century. Material from this tree was used by the Chief Gardener at the Botanic Gardens in Naples to formally describe the species in 1832. The seed used to grow this tree could only have come from south-eastern Australia, though the exact collection location is unknown.
A fast-growing upright eucalypt, the Swamp Gum is a small to medium-sized tree found commonly across south-east Australia. Its Latin name comes from its glossy green, oval-shaped leaves, from which it is possible to extract essential oil.
This species can tolerate sites that are inundated for long periods and yet also grow on dry, well-drained slopes. It is untroubled by frost and thrives in parts of Tasmania. In southern parts of Tasmania it is known as the Black Gum.
Its sawn timber did not impress early European settlers as suitable for construction, but it burned well and was popular for making charcoal. When in blossom, the variety commonly attracts bees and apiarists recognise the distinctive clear amber colour of the honey.