Today saw the removal of 13 trees from Jubilee Gardens. While it is always sad to lose trees there are good reasons for taking this action which will benefit the remaining trees and the Gardens in the long term.
When Jubilee Gardens was re-landscaped in 2012 a large number of trees – 94 in total were planted with the expectation that some would fail or need to be thinned over the years. Normally you would expect to lose or remove around 30% of new trees. This is much the same principle as when growing carrots on an allotment – you always sow more seeds knowing some will get eaten by slugs, some will be washed away or pick up a disease and others will hit rocks and not grow properly. As the carrots grow you thin out the smaller, weaker seedlings to allow room for the others to grow big and strong.
Our plan was always to take this action between 10 and 14 years after planting so we and have been monitoring our trees regularly over the years to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the condition of all trees on the site.
Following an unexpected tree failure all the trees were the subject of a major audit last year, including a health assessment, consideration of the need for thinning, and, in the case of 70 of them, a full root survey. As a result, 13 trees in poorer condition or of lesser amenity value were identified for removal as part of our long-term tree management plan. Trees that were removed today suffered from a variety of issues from leaf chlorosis and die back to stunted growth and impaired structures which could become unsafe. In many cases they were impeding the growth of other, more viable, trees.
We still have more work to do, which includes transplanting a small number of existing trees to give others more room. And the good news is that we will be planting three Field Maple Queen Elizabeth trees in the coming weeks which will be registered with the Queen’s Green Canopy Scheme launched for last year’s Jubilee.
To augment our tree care and provide interest and information for visitors we are also planning to label all the trees in the Gardens with QR codes to link them back to full species and background information on the Trust’s website.