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Never a better time to go green

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August 02, 2017

To make the most of the council’s strategy, now would be a great time to look into your own backyard and see what simple things can be done to improve our urban environments.

Recently the Greater City of Shepparton launched its Urban Forest Strategy. This strategy has a vision of making Greater Shepparton an attractive, vibrant and liveable region with well-connected green spaces that are valued by the community.

This is a great move forward for the Greater Shepparton region and I know it will benefit the community in so many ways, such as lifestyle, health and wellbeing, liveability and property value. The Urban Forest is the home garden, public parks, community space, workplace environs and streetscape areas of our urban development.

This can have a profound effect on our living environment and the “heat island effect” — the dome of elevated temperatures over our towns and cities. By careful planning and the planting of canopy trees, shrubs and other green life throughout our towns, we can greatly enhance our living conditions.

To make the most of the council’s strategy, now would be a great time to look into your own backyard and see what simple things can be done to improve our urban environments and enjoy the benefits it can bring.

FOR EXAMPLE, DID YOU KNOW:

• A well-landscaped garden can increase your property value by about 20 per cent; and

• Heating and cooling costs can be reduced with a few well-placed canopy trees and thoughtful under-planted gardens. By slowing the wind speed and reducing the chill factor, heating costs can be lessened by up to 30 per cent. On hot days, cool moist air is created as hot dry air evaporates moisture from the foliage as it moves through the canopy of the trees, cooling the air by as much as 10 degrees Celsius.

Many studies have shown that access to, and views of, green spaces and trees have a positive effect on peoples health and wellbeing, such as reducing recovery times during convalescence, lowering stress levels, encouraging people to be active outdoors, improving their fitness and creating imaginative minds in children and allowing them to connect with nature.

Other benefits include slower-moving traffic, greater community interaction and lower crime rates in areas of high density urban forest as well as improving the desirability of the neighbourhood and improved air quality. In this era of the ever-shrinking backyard it is even more important to get the green space balance right in your garden.

The right plants, the correct positioning and the right advice can help you create your own urban forest and benefit from all that it brings.

Now and during the next few months is one of the best planting times in the garden. So it is a great time to call into your local garden centre and speak to the qualified nursery staff to make sure you take full advantage of the strong growth during the coming spring months.

If you get in quick, you might still be able to pick up a few advanced deciduous trees while they are still bare-rooted to establish the framework of your urban forest.

While I am at it, well done City of Greater Shepparton on introducing the Urban Forest Strategy. This foresight brings us in line with so many other go-ahead cities and councils.

What do you think of the efforts to make our community greener? Share your thoughts below.

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