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Newsletter for the Alice Springs Significant Tree Group -  

3rd Edition April 2013.

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The Significant Tree Group is coordinated by the LFW program in Alice Springs in accord with an MOU with the National Trust (NT) and ACNT National Tree Register. 

Above, a Morten Bay Fig growing a long way from Home!
Welcome to another edition of the Significant Tree Newsletter.
It has been a busy month in the LFW office, with staff working on various projects, including Significant trees!

This newsletter is later than usual, but hopefully will get to everyone in time to plan attendance at the next Significant Tree Meeting, scheduled a week later to allow attendance by some members whom are away this week.

Thanks to everyone for their involvement so far, as we get more experience we are definitely evolving into something that works for Alice Springs and Central Australia! Well Done.
A Queensland Bottle Tree getting the one over from the SIgnificent Tree Group.
Significant Tree Meeting March 27th, Melanka Block
Wednesday 27th saw The significent tree group  meet at the vacent block on Todd St, between Stott and Stuart Tce.  Once home to the Melanka backpacker hostel, it has been standing vacant since the hostel was demolished in 2008. Despite numerous threats to develop the site with 5 storey accommodation, nothing has come to fruition. A number of years ago the temporary fencing was removed, and the site is currently a thoroughfare and car park  as well as home to numerous interesting trees. The Significant tree group decided to assess some of the more noteworthy trees and assess them for nomination as 'significant trees'.

Jesse and Matt from Land for wildlife met with Connie, Petal and Susie, and set about assessing the trees. When we had exhausted all the possible trees on the vacant block we walked towards the RFDS along Sturt Tce; on the lookout for more register-worthy trees.

With the exception of a number of River Red Gums on Gap Road and Todd St, most trees here are examples of exotic Australian and foreign species. It was a reminder that trees in Alice Springs can be special for many reasons, besides as reminders of pre-European native vegetation. 
This Ficus macrophylla, commonly known as the Moreton Bay Fig, is in quite good health despite the difficult conditions it has faced. At some stage it has been restrained by a garden edging or a path, which is reflected by the straight edge along its roots in the foreground. It is likely to be about 40 years old, and its form is somewhat different to what one would expect from specimens growing under more favourable conditions.
Two rather impressive examples of the Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris) are also found on the site. There was some discussion about whether these are two individuals or if the smaller of the two is actually a sucker. Unfortunately the larger trunk has been graffitied with some less than imaginative phrases; however they are both in healthy condition.
Lemon scented Gums or Spotted Gum, Corymbia citriodora, are a familiar sight around town, almost in plague proportions some might think. Naturally occuring in North East NSW through to Northern QLD, the Lemon Scented gum has been a popular domestic planting here in Alice since the mid 1970's when the Conservation Commission nursery was in operation.

While many view them as a lost opportunity for a local indigenous planting, others enjoy the smooth bark, fragrance and form of this tree.  We determined that under the significant tree nominations, this was a particularly large and healthy specimen that may be worthy of being on the register, certainly it is in need of further discussion.

There was also some discussion in the office that this may in fact be E. victrix, feel free to let us know your thoughts on this , or other species discussed in this newsletter.
We are still trying to definitively identify this Paperbark. At the moment Melaleuca argentea (Silver Paperbark) looks like a likely match. This tree had just finished flowering when we assessed it. This and the new growth indicate that it is in good health, despite being a top end species. It's likely that  its roots are making good use of the water table, that is as shallow as 7 meters this close to the Todd River.
This tree has been commonly referred to as a rain tree, and is believed to be Albizia saman. It is native to Mexico and Brazil. This specimen was planted in the front garden of the original Doctor's Residence at 2 Stuart Tce and is thought to be 80 years old.

The leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening, hence the name "rain tree". This individual is 17 m tall and surprisingly has a trunk circumference of 3.9m

Significant Trees and Alice Springs Plant Society.


The Significant tree group was invited to present to the Alice Springs Plant Society on the project thus far. There was some coverage on ABC radio before meeting at the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens on Wednesday 3rd April.

I  was pleasantly surprised at the attendance of about 20 people, some of whom have no connection to the Alice Springs Plant Society.

Over about 40 minutes, I outlined the Significant tree register being developed i
n the NT by the National Trust as part of  the National Tree Register, Land for Wildlife's involvement and the activities of the Significant Tree Group in Alice thus far. There were some excellent points raised by the audience and some interesting discussion. It was also wonderful that many of the Audience wanted to receive updates via this newsletter and become involved in the future development of the program and register.

Thanks to The Alice Springs Plant Society for their invitation and interest in the Significant Tree Group.

Matt Digby, Coordinator LFW 

Next Significant Tree Meeting.

We have decided to push the next meeting forward to Wednesday the 1st May owing to absence of several members of the group due to the ANZAC Day holiday. The meeting will be held at the Land For Wildlife office at Isotoma Road and will be aimed at discussing criteria for registration and reviewing the trees measured over the last two meetings. I will circulate an agenda next week which will discuss further nominations and talk about how we can begin to publish this information on the LFW website and put the trees on the National Trust (NT) register for the NT.

Meeting will Kick off at 10.30.......please let me know if you are planning on attending for catering purposes.


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