James Urban, author of a new book on urban tree planting, said of a recent visit to the town: "I was shocked - I didn't see one successful tree. It will be a long time, if ever, before the town has a decent tree canopy."
Urban blamed a soil type that is vulnerable to compaction, combined with the use of heavy earth-moving equipment during the town's construction in the 1960s. "They flattened out the topography and killed the soil," he said.
He also criticised container-grown tree stock. "It's much worse than field-grown," he said. "Repotting means you get root-layering, and even with AirPots there is a problem with root circling. I have started sawing in half the rootballs of nursery trees and every one I've seen has had problems."