Following notification last night that one of the trees on the Town Hall Square needed urgent attention to make it safe, HTHCT asked for more background to this decision.
LBH says that a large branch fell from the tree in August 2013; an inspection subsequently revealed it was in poor condition. According to LBH, published guidance states that horse chestnut trees do not respond well to decay as they are unable to prevent disease spreading, once it’s established.
LBH also says there was evidence (black tar like stains and cracking along the stem and large branches) that the tree has been infected by Phytophthora which can also lead to some branches dying back. The tree canopy was thin, compared to a healthy specimen of the same species.
The council says it undertook a significant crown reduction in Sept 2013 to minimise the risk of additional branches failing and to re-balance the crown. LBH says this work was carried out to minimise the risk of additional branches failing and to re-balance the crown. LBH says it thought it was better to try to retain the tree in the short term and see how it reacted to the pruning works.
They go on to say that the tree was monitored last year and another inspection took place this week; their conclusion was that the tree was in terminal decline and that their priority was to make the green area of the square safe for the public.
LBH has sent several images of the tree, one of which is attached to this post.
LBH has told us that they have recommended planting one or two replacements. We have no more news on that at the moment but will update as soon as we know more.