Popular poplars get a reprieve
Newcastle City Council is to re-consult local residents, after threatening to cut down two populus, or poplar trees on Jesmond Dene Road.
The proposed changes relate to a row of four trees. The middle two are to have their dead wood removed while the council proposed that the outer two be removed entirely, their stumps ground down and the surface reinstated.
One concerned resident, Slavek Bernard, who says he has 40 years worth of experience as a forestry commissioner and was a former governmental adviser, told JesmondLocal: “I would both recommend and urge that these trees should not be completely cut. The trees are healthy specimens – not ill nor too old. Proper tree-surgery on some branches of those two trees would, from my point of view, be enough to keep health and safety measures in check. Several branches should however be cut to create a proper balance.”
Bernard said that removal of the trees would have a wider effect on Jesmond Dene: “The four populus trees there have an important primary function – namely, one of protection. They act as a barrier against permanent western winds entering the Dene and creating even more disruption on many other trees on the slopes of the Dene. However, if those trees actually disappear, there will be consequences. It will inevitably create chaos in that community of trees. This is due to the fact that their roots are spread well and deeply around, which supports the stability of all the trees in the bigger group there.”
JesmondLocal contacted the council and received this response from horticultural services manager Mark Lamb: “Following concern expressed by local residents over falling branches in high winds and having carried out minor works to these trees over several years, we decided that the time had come to take some longer term action by replacing two of the trees that have pronounced leans and heavy, poorly-balanced canopies. In response to the notices being put up, a considerable number of residents have asked for a review of the proposal in favour of alternative action that would not involve removal of the trees.”
Lamb said he would be sending out a proposal for local resident consultation today in order “to strike a balance between managing risks and preserving the trees, i.e. removing canopy and allowing main trunk to regenerate with a lower, more manageable and lighter canopy. This not a practice that we would support on most species of trees, but poplars have the type of growth to respond to it and we are prepared to do this if the feedback supports it.”
Bernard has suggested another alternative: “To stop irreplaceable damage, after proper tree-surgery, the local community could adopt these trees and take annual care of them.”