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Some people talk to their plants. In Melbourne, they email the trees. This became possible thanks to a decision to map every tree in the city and give it a unique ID number.

About 3,000 emails have been sent to individual trees in the last two years. This didn’t start out as an exercise in sentiment, but a hard-headed attempt by Melbourne city council to manage an urban forest in decline – as a result of drought, by 2009 40% of the 77,000 trees in Australia’s “garden city” were struggling or dying

Pasted from <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33560182> trees-melbourne

Selected treemail Below (July 2015)

Weeping Myrtle, Tree ID 1494392

5 July 2015

Hello Weeping Myrtle,

I’m sitting inside near you and I noticed on the urban tree map you don’t have many friends nearby. I think that’s sad so I want you to know I’m thinking of you. I also want to thank you for providing oxygen for us to breath in the hustle and bustle of the city.

Best Regards, N

Gum, Tree ID 1032002

11 July 2015

Dear Gum,

Apologies if that’s not the form of address you prefer. I wanted very much to tell you how much I miss your family. I’ve lived in Texas for two and a half years now, and I so fervently miss the heady scent of your cologne as the morning sun warms you.

I miss your gentle swish swish as the wind tousles your leaves playfully. I miss your strong white trunk, rising majestically from the earth, striking up towards the clouds. I miss the dappled shade you so generously provide.

The sound of magpies, harbouring in your foliage, does not grace my ears. The silver green of your long, lithe leaves does not appear in my current surrounds.

I miss you, Gum. I miss all that you represent for me. Stand tall and strong, and know that my heart reaches out to you across the seas.

With immense fondness, A

Golden Elm Tree ID 1040779

11 July 2015

Dearest Golden Elm Tree, I finally found you! As in I see you everyday on my way to uni, but I had no idea of what kind of tree you are. You are the most beautiful tree in the city and I love you ^_^ It always makes me so happy to see you standing there minding your own business. I have to say, you have the most beautiful canopy and I love how the light green leaves on your branches contrast with the darkness of your trunk. We really should have more trees of your kind in our city.

Stay awesome.

Hugs! A

Variegated Elm, Tree ID 1033102

13 July 2015

Dear Elm, I was delighted to find you alive and flourishing, because a lot of your family used to live in the UK, but they all caught a terrible infection and died. Do be very careful, and if you notice any unfamiliar insects e-mail an arboriculturist at once. I miss your characteristic silhouettes and beautifully shaped branches – used to be one of the glories of the English landscape – more than I can say. Melbourne must be a beautiful city.

Sincere good wishes, D

Pasted from <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33560182>