The right trees for the future

GREG ASH is a Mount Lawley resident and member of the members-only Mount Lawley golf club. He says how the club manages the hundreds of trees and shrubs that line its fairways and greens needs to be seen in context after the Voice’s recent stories about how many have been earmarked to be removed.

I AM one of the 30 volunteers  at the Mount Lawley Golf Club who concentrate on bushland regeneration and a member of over 20 years.

Your story about the club’s masterplan (“Club keen to tee off on plan,” Voice, December 10, 2022) needs clarification.

Mount Lawley Golf Club sits on 79 hectares of land equally split on WA state-owned land, vested to the City of Stirling who are the lessees; MLGC is the sub lessee.

This is a golf course that has won the WA Golf Award for environmental management for 2020 and 2021. That’s the last two awards for all golf clubs in WA, therefore Mount Lawley is clearly a leader in the state.

For a golf club to survive, it must have decent fairways and greens.

The club spent considerable money in 2016 to put in new reticulation and a lake that many waterbirds now call home.

This was to make water use more efficient. 

In 2028 a 10 per cent cut will come to all water users in Australia as stated by the federal government.

Arbor Carbon, an organisation whose motto is “creating sustainable ecosystems” prepared a report for the club in 2021 and surveyed 2020 trees, which found that 43 per cent of MLGC golf course are non-endemic.

The major problem trees are river redgums, broad leaf paperbark (Qld and NSW) maritime pine if diseased or in the middle of native bushland, Tasmanian blue gums and south west peppermint that is not endemic to the Swan Coastal Plain.

These trees are high water users.

As Leisha Jack of the Stirling Urban Tree Network states on her website, our mission is to help educate the public about the importance of urban trees, especially in our warming and drying climate.

Deryn Thorpe, an eminent, award-winning gardener on her website states: “The right tree in the wrong place is a weed.”

We are trying to redress this warming and drying problem by planting sustainable, site specific trees and understory flora that will use water wisely. 

MLGC has planted 1740 trees so far in the last three years. 

We have another four years on our revegetation plan to go. 

A total of 10,000 plants so far with a success rate of 93 per cent.

We have about another 14 000 plants to put into this ecosystem.

We have planted tuart, marri, coastal blackbutt, sheoak plus various banksia species; menzeii, attenuata, grandis, prionotes, ilicifolia being the main.

If we cut down the river redgums to redevelop the greens it equates to 0.32 per cent of those on the course. 

We are not cutting down whole swathes of established trees. 

There are hundreds of non-endemic trees with about nine other species we are not cutting down as they have limited impact on the golf course but 

do contribute to the ecosystem positively.

To achieve a successful golf course and also create a sustainable ecosystem, we must cut water use and to do this some water guzzling trees must go and be replaced by the correct flora for this region. 

MLGC is leading the way.

As a member of the WA Naturalist Club, originally joining in 1966 but still a member, I know something of environmental ecosystems.

We hope the detractors of MLGC course can understand science and the co-existing reasons why these certain tree species must be removed.

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