Understanding the true cost of establishing urban trees is critical to the successful creation of healthy urban forests. Despite this, research shows that councils and other landowners do not have access to a reliable, rigorous costing tool, which makes it hard to produce defensible business cases and budgets for tree planting and maintenance. To address this gap, Horticulture Innovation engaged Mosaic Insights and Natural Capital Economics to deliver a R&D project and develop a tree budget tool to address this barrier.

The Tree Investment Tool is designed to calculate the life cycle cost of urban tree projects. It provides a systematic and user-friendly approach to project cost evaluation based on size and location requirements. Along with the tool comes the instruction manual which provides step-by-step instructions for users to work through the Tree Investment Tool spreadsheet and enter the details for their project details. After entering all the required values, the tool provides a results summary. Users have the option to analyse and compare three projects within the tool. The Tool is free to all users at the Hort Innovation website.

The tool will complement other R&D projects being undertaken by Horticulture Innovation with the aim of supporting the creation of sustainable urban forests across Australian cities and towns.