Trees on the move

8th May 2018

The next phase of the transformation of Fremantle’s Kings Square started this week with the removal and relocation of a number of mature trees taking place over the coming weeks.

There are 40 mature trees in the Kings Square project area, including Moreton Bay figs, London Plane trees, Canary Island date palms and Queensland Brush Box trees. Approximately two-thirds of these will stay under the City of Fremantle’s tree strategy for Kings Square, but some have to go.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the aim was to retain as many healthy trees as possible, and plant two new trees for every one that had to be removed.

“Of the 40 trees in the project area, 16 will be retained in their existing location, 10 will be relocated to other spots on the site and 14 will be removed,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“While it’s unfortunate to have to remove any trees, none of them are native species and most of the trees that will go are in poor condition.

“And with the two-for-one replacement, at the end of the project we’ll have a lot more trees and increased canopy cover to create a cool and shady space for everyone to relax and enjoy.”

Jacarandas, known for their spectacular purple blooms, will be planted around the square to help emphasise the colourful and vibrant atmosphere in the rejuvenated precinct.

The entire Kings Square precinct will feature a total of 67 trees once the project is complete.

The main species to be removed will be Queensland Brush Box trees, which are considered unsuitable for a civic urban square because they need lots of water and drop nuts.

Two Moreton Bay figs to the south of St John’s church will also be removed because of safety concerns associated with the ongoing decline in health and the structural condition of the trees.

The condition of the ‘Christmas fig’ and another Moreton Bay fig to the south of the church will continue to be monitored. Several arborists reports over a number of years have expressed concern about their condition and suggested removal, however any proposal with respect to their future will be separate to the works already approved under the Kings Square public realm concept plan.

Seven healthy mature London Plane trees that are within the footprint of the City of Fremantle’s new administration building and library will be relocated to other sites in Kings Square.

Two Canary Island date palms were successfully transplanted in July last year. To see how it was done:

The tree removals will begin on Monday 7 May with the removal of two Moreton Bay figs and a cluster of Rottnest tea trees, which will cause some disruption in the immediate area.

Tree relocations will take place the following week and will require road closures at certain times.