Dear Readers, I have always been very fond of the strange crab apple tree that grows towards the end of my street. Back in 2014 I commented on the way that it had been pruned, remarking that it looked as if a wood-nymph was trying to escape from the trunk. Alas, the life of a street tree can be a difficult one. Not only do they have to contend with drought, flood, exposure, pollution and wind, but in some cases they also have to deal with living in an extremely narrow road where there is a lot of building work going on.
Earlier this week, the tree had an unfortunate encounter with a hastily-delivered skip. It says something for our road that everyone, from the builders to the home-owners, were horrified at what had happened, and that the council have got on board unexpectedly quickly – one of their tree officers will come to have a look and see if it’s possible to save it. Several people have noted that it looks like a much older tree than most of those in the street (its trunk must be twice to three times as thick as that of the other crab apples) and people are anxious to preserve this veteran if they can. What do you think, Readers? I suppose the ‘wound’ could be tidied up and maybe protected from frost, but let me know your thoughts, and I will let you know how we get on.
Looking at Barnet’s Tree Policy, it looks as if they will try to preserve the tree if possible, which will please everyone involved with our crab apple. I also note that the council will refuse a request to prune or cut down a street tree for the reasons listed below. I find this rather refreshing. After all, if you move into a house with a tree outside, it’s difficult to argue that you didn’t notice.
- Interference with satellite dish TV reception
- Residents perception that a tree is too large
- Obstruction of view or light
- Seasonal nuisance (leaf fall, fruit litter, allergies to pollen, nuisance caused by insects or birds)
- Residents’ perception that the tree will cause damage in the future
- To replace a healthy mature tree to create space for the planting of new trees.
Street trees are so important in terms of biodiversity, shade, reducing flood risk, supporting mental health and bringing nature closer that it feels important to conserve them, and to plant more. Now, if we could just stop backing into them with our cars (so many of the trees on our street are tilting in a very obvious way) and knocking their branches off with skips, we’ll all be happy.