Trees are sometimes messy, dropping leaves, branches and fruit all over the yard and driveway, and occasionally getting in the way of on-coming traffic, resulting in a new dent in the fender of that pretty new motor vehicle. They really are worth all that trouble, though. For something that seems to just stand around and make a mess, they do a lot to improve the environment.

Trees help to clean up our mess every day by doing what they must do in order to stay alive. They conduct photosynthesis. During this process, they remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, making the air healthier for us to breath. They also absorb some of the pollution that is released into the air by our motor vehicles and factories. Their roots keep the soil loose which makes it easier for excess storm water run-off to be absorbed into the ground rather than simply running off into the Harbour. As the water drains into the soil it is filtered by the roots resulting in cleaner ground water.

They are far more aesthetically pleasing than grass or bare soil, provide food and homes for wildlife and provide shade. When planted strategically around homes and other buildings, they keep them cooler by providing protection from the hot sunlight. They also make it far more comfortable to sit outside and enjoy a cold beverage in the evening.

Keeping trees healthy benefits everyone. Monitor them for signs of disease and call in an Arborist to assess the situation if any worrying symptoms appear like bracket fungi, oozing dark patches of bark or wilting. Quick action from an AQF Level 5 Arborist could save the tree. Regular maintenance pruning, which can be done by an AQF Level 3 Arborist, will help keep the tree healthy and contained within its space. All pruning must be done by a qualified Arborist and permission from the City of Sydney is often required.

If there is room in the budget and on the property, plant a new tree or two. Choose a drought-tolerant species or cultivar that will naturally grow to fill its allotted space. Plant it in the fall and be prepared to water it once or twice a week for the first year or two until it becomes established. After that, as long as it has a good start, most drought-tolerant trees will require only minimal care in exchange for valuable benefits.