Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Missing Street Trees 2

This morning I met up with one of the borough's two tree officers for a walkabout around Abbotswell Road, Henryson Road, Elsiemaud Road and around there to look at where trees have been removed and whether they can be replanted. I went clutching my list of missing street trees, as collated during my leafletting a couple of weeks back.

Hopefully we should be getting some more trees in Abbotswell, Francemary and other streets that have had trees removed, but in most cases not until next year now. A few trees are being planted this year, including 4 very soon in Arthurdon Road, but there is likely to be more planting next year, once the survey is complete. Unfortunately we also discovered a tree on Henryson Road that needs to be removed fairly promptly as it could be in danger of falling (outside 28 Henryson Road).

The borough's arboricultural team have a new mapping system and over the past year, alongside their regular maintenence work, they have been surveying and mapping all the trees in the borough. There are all being prioritised 1,2 or 3 in terms of how urgently they need attention. They are also mapping missing street trees, potential sites for new trees and scanning for under-pavement wiring which influences where trees can be planted. It seems that most of the borough besides Ladywell has now been mapped and they hope to finish the process (including Ladywell) by the end of the year. They are dealing with the priority one trees first (in danger of falling etc), then will start to replant some of those that are missing, alongside doing regular maintenence on the existing trees.

They plan to move towards contractors removing, stump grinding and replanting trees all at once, rather than just removing the tree and possibly, maybe, coming back to replace it at some indefinite point in the future. They are also looking at planting a wider variety of species than the ubiquitous ornamental cherry trees. As well as being everywhere, not having a particularly high value in terms of biodiversity and having a relatively short lifespan, their roots also play havoc with pavements (as anyone who has ever walked along Chudleigh Road could verify).

I also asked about whether Lewisham would be getting any street trees from the Mayor of London's much hyped scheme, and it is likely that we will, but the borough doesn't get to choose where, although it is looking likely that they will be in the northern part of the borough (Deptford/New Cross).


g_thurley said...

With reference to the cheery tree roots in Chudleigh Road, I notice that some appear to have a form of fungus at the base of the tree. Do they present the same danger of falling as the ashes in Ladywell Fields, which are about to be felled?

Tressillian James said...

It's a shame about the cherry trees - it's so nice to see the changing seasons with the beautiful blossom in spring and stunning russets and reds in autumn.

I'm suprised at the longevity clain - having lived in Japan for quite a few years I know of trees that are used for Cherry Blossom viewing for many decades and some that are celebrated for being around for 100 years or more.

When we are talking about planting trees to make our streets green and leafy, and improve our visual environment (which, to be honest, most people are) is there a need for street tree biodiversity. Surely Hilly Fields can give us that?

Sue said...

Geoffrey - I'll enquire about the Chudleigh cherry trees.

James - I don't think it has to be an either or between green and leafy or biodiversity, we can aspire to both, and if we also want to attract insects, birds etc to our gardens a variety of trees, including some with berries can help.

Tressillian James said...

The cherry trees out side my house feed sparrows and other birds with their blossom and then the fruit that comes later in summer. The blossom is also a hive of activity (no pun intended) with insects. The RSPB are trying to encourage us to plant trees that fruit and blossom in a bid to encourage the numbers of sparrows and starlings. Maybe they aren't as bad after all, as perhaps a non-fruiting tree?

Not meaning to start an argument - but just concerned if changes are to be made from a tree that actually supports a wide range of bird and insect life. COuld we not consult the RSPB as to what is the best tree, if we have to move away from non-fruiting

Sue said...

Hi James
I don't think we are in disagreement here. All I'm saying is that Councils went through a phase a few years back of planting nothing much besides ornamental cherry trees in streets and now they are paying more attention to biodiversity issues and looking to plant a wider variety of species. No one is proposing removing healthy trees, but as trees die/get to the end of their life, the replacement programme should look at planting a range of species. And I would 100% agree that this should mean trees that attract a variety of birds and insects. Do sparrows really eat blossom though?!

I don't have a personal vendetta against cherry trees or anything, but they're not always the most suitable trees for streets with fairly narrow pavements - lots of problems with the pavements along streets such as Chudleigh Road due to the roots.

Street trees are probably another issue where you can never please everyone all the time - some people would welcome a fruit tree, others would complain about the mess on the pavement, some people want a tree outside their house, others will reverse their car into it until it dies and they can 'reclaim' their on kerb parking space!

Tressillian James said...

lol - I get your point Sue - especially those with their cars. And as for blossom, it's not only the sparrows but the parakets and even some hefty wood pigeons that like to eat the blossom buds, just before they flower.

I'll lay off the point now - I'd just hate to see some of the lovely cherry tree lined streets broken up with a diverse range of planting when it comes to replacement.

Anyway - the main point is to pass on thnaks for doing something about the missing trees - and encouraging more. I voted Green in the last elections precisely because the councillors are active. A great support in the local community.