What council is doing

Trees in Edinburgh Gardens

Council has four dedicated contractors that specialise in different aspects of tree care.

Street trees in Yarra are on a two year pruning cycle to ensure their health and safety.
This means within two years all street trees will be inspected and pruned as required.

Every year Council plants approximately 10 whole streets and an average of 800 semi-advanced trees.
This does not include the many thousands of plants and trees planted during revegetation and planting days.

Community Planting Days

Planting days predominantly occur in spring and autumn, though successful plant regeneration can occur all year round.
Council works with a number of organisations who run community planting days in Yarra.
Rain, hail or shine we go ahead with all advertised planting days.

Click here to find out more about community planting groups and initiatives.

Elm Leaf Beetle

Melbourne is one of the remaining cities in the world that still has a large population of elms.
The City of Yarra has approximately 2000 elms located in various parks and streets across the city. 

Dutch Elm Disease

Dutch Elm Disease, which currently does not exist in Australia, has devastated the majority of elm populations in other parts of the world.
This fungal disease is spread by the Elm Bark Beetle (present in Victoria since the 1970s).
Strict quarantine has to date prevented the entry of the Dutch Elm Disease (DED).

Elm Leaf Beetle

The Elm Leaf Beetle (ELB), Pyrrhalta luteola, was discovered in 1989 damaging elms on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.
The Elm Leaf Beetle is a pest on elms, defoliating and weakening mature trees.
This pest has since spread to the Melbourne metropolitan area and large parts of regional Victoria.
Based on the experience in North America, it is anticipated that the Elm Leaf Beetle will eventually spread to all parts of Australia, where elms are grown.


While it is impossible to eradicate the beetle, Yarra City Council has developed an Elm Leaf Beetle Management Program to protect significant stands of elms, predominantly in parks and avenues.
Council’s Elm Leaf Beetle management program has been developed to progressively monitor and control the beetle, in a cost effective manner.
Treatment methods include the spraying and soil injecting of the low toxicity insecticide Imidacloprid (Confidor™ 200 SC).
Other horticultural practices that will assist in beetle control will include removal of suckering Elms, sucker growth from the base of trees and the removal of deadwood from the canopy.
These are sites that are known for harbouring large populations of the beetle.
Soil injection has a residual effect and trees require treatment every three years only.
Trees that are canopy sprayed may require annual treatments.

Fighting the drought

Over the past few years, the drought has created many challenges for local trees and for Council's Open Space staff, which manage all of Yarra's trees and parklands.

While most trees are coping despite the drought, some have been unable to adapt to the extremely dry conditions. This has forced many trees into early leaf fall and caused some to die. Those that die are replaced where appropriate.

Council works very hard to care for trees in these trying conditions. All of Yarra’s street trees are monitored regularly by Council’s arborist and committed qualified contractors as part of a tree management program. 
Outlined below are some of the initiatives Council has in place to look after the Yarra's trees.   

  • Council manually waters every new street tree for at least the first two years of its life to ensure survival and future growth. Council purchases ‘Class A’ recycled water to establish new plantings in accordance with its Water Action Plan.

  • Between 2006 and 2010, Council has installed more than 45km of sub-surface irrigation for the City’s most significant park trees. Dripper systems are a very efficient method of irrigation that supplies water directly to the tree roots, where it is most required. As the irrigation system is below ground, it prevents water loss from run-off, evaporation and spray drift.

  • To protect mature trees in the drought, Council has removed turf and aerated and mulched the base of many park trees and, to date has spread approximately 100,000 cubic meters of mulch under trees to reduce water consumption and improve root growth.

  • Deep watering is now a recognised form of irrigation. This is a process where water is injected straight into the ground using a probe. This directs water to exactly where it is needed, the roots. Fertilisers and wetting agents can be added if required.

  • Water filled barriers once placed next to trees, have been phased out as drip irrigation continues to be installed and deep watering is utilised. 


Further information
Yarra City Council
9205 5555

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