the trees

Brunswick East Primary School needs more trees!

Many have been lost due to age or disease and there is not enough shade for the growing student population.

We want to green the space, encourage biodiversity and increase the play and learning opportunities for children.

colourful trees

Care for our trees

Smaller trees are more economical to plant and require less maintenance, reaching the same size of the more advanced stock within around four years. However more advanced stock can cope better with the damage caused by children during play, provide an immediate visual impact and will be able to be enjoyed by the school community.

With this in mind, a proportion of the trees will need to be semi-advanced to advanced stock at approximately 1-2 m in height.

We plant in Winter to give the tree roots time to establish before the warmer months.
The soil is conditioned prior to planting and all plants mulched to help retain moisture.

Once planted trees need regular watering and require some form of initial staking and/or guarding until they are well established.(approx. 1-3 years)

Choosing our trees

Many considerations are involved when we think about trees for our grounds:

  • Educational benefits for children (such as opportunities to learn a variety of tree species or observe biodiversity)
  • Play benefits for children (such as loose parts, eg; seed pods, capsules and autumn leaves, plus pretend play on and amongst tree limbs – eg. cubbies/climbing/hide and seek)
  • Shade provision balanced with maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels. (Shade audits were conducted at BEPS in early 2014.)
  • Safety – limb drop potential and density of shade provided
  • Fauna attracting qualities
  • Shape, aesthetics, scent, educational interest
  • Winter light (for deciduous trees)
  • Low-allergy risk
  • Bushfire risk
  • Invasiveness of trees i.e. roots getting into nearby drains
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Drought tolerant shade is going to be important, and we are trying to anticipate this with the species selections as Climate change predictions are for drier and hotter summers.  

Our very own tree professionals

BEPS is really lucky to have some parents with professional expertise to assist the tree strategy development:

Anne-Marie Paton  –  landscape architect
Warwick Savvas  –  landscape architect
Pat Deasey  –  horticulturist
Elissa Walker  –  horticulture
Zoe Austin-Crowe  –  project management

In each area of the BEPS grounds they ask very specific questions to decide on each tree grouping added to the plan:

  • How do the children play in this area?
  • How do people move through this area?
  • Would the area benefit from less shade and more light during Winter months?
  • How would play be effected if the area needed to be fenced off?
  • Were there any drains or other amenities that could be effected by roots or high branches?
  • What opportunities for learning would the tree provide?
  • Did the tree offer seasonal changes?
  • Did the tree have interesting foliage, flowers, bark or shape?
  • Does this tree provide biodiversity?
  • What shade would the tree provide?
  • Was the tree known to cause allergies?
  • Were there risks such as fire hazard or tendency to drop limbs that we needed to consider?
  • How would we maintain the trees in the area?
  • What was the condition of the soil?
  • What access was there to water?
  • What damage could the children's play cause in the area?
  • Are we planting a range of varieties and species in case one species becomes diseased?
  • Once established, how sustainable would the variety be and what ongoing care would be required?
  • What story do these trees tell?