As part of the 2018-2028 10-Year Plan, the Council has allocated an $300,000, and then $100,000 per year to an important programme of tree replacement work.
The work addresses some long-standing issues on Hamilton's streets – in particular, where the streets trees' roots have, over time, damaged assets such as roads, footpaths, pipes and stormwater systems. Our tree replacement project runs parallel to work to fix the various assets – it's a collaboration between our Parks and Recreation Unit (responsible for the trees) and the Infrastructure Alliance (which maintains our roads, footpaths and pipes).
A big driver for the collaboration efficiency: we want to minimise disruption to residents and motorists by having our teams work together, or in quick succession, whenever possible.
The programme has a prioritised list of jobs – and we're aiming to deal with the most serious issues first. The list results from customer feedback and also assessments carried out by our staff, who inspect the streets. This work is visible to the public, because the usual first step is the removal of trees on the streets where the issues are the greatest. Over time, it's become clear some tree species planted on berms aren't suitable for the urban street environment.
We started this work in August 2018.
We want to reassure the public every tree we remove is replaced: our budget covers both removal and replacement of the trees. Large historic trees around the city are not included in this piece of work and would only be removed for emergency or safety reasons.
In some cases there is a gap of a few months between the removal of the trees and the replanting – this is because we do our planting in the winter, when the soil is at its softest and when the wet weather assists with roots of new trees taking hold. The replanting season is May to October.
In replanting the trees we remove, we use modern planting techniques to mitigate the risk of future damage to our assets – these methods include root guards, and training the roots to grown vertically into the soil, not horizontally.
A key aspect of our tree replacement project is engagement with residents: we will contact you about our project before it starts on your street to seek your feedback, and we'll also give you an opportunity to select the replacement species from a preferred list.