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Monday, 3 October 2011

Death by Lights

I find it very difficult to walk past a tree without noticing its state of health, and whether it has been planted correctly. This must be something that has been ingrained in me after years training at Hillers Arboretum, looking at ailing plant samples as a horticultural advisor for the Royal Horticultural Society. I feel I also have a ‘maternal’ instinct to ensure that plants and in particular trees are able to grow for our future.

I was in Osterley in London looking at trees within a corporate headquarters when I noticed what could be only described as death by lights. Often trees have been planted and supported with a tree stake and rubber tie. These ties unfortunately are often forgotten about and not loosened off as the girth of the tree increases. This is a simple task but has such major consequences if not done. On this occasion the tree in question had established well. The trees along the boundary of the property had been decorated with strings of fairy lights. As with tree ties, these need to be loosened off and checked twice a year during the growing season ensure that the girth of tree is not expanding against the cabling which constricts the vascular tissue underneath the bark. It is not too late for this tree but many trees have been lost before now.

Barbed wire, railing and estate fencing are often found engulfed in boundary trees. Generally this does not cause too much damage as there is no constricting of the vascular tissue of the tree. Once the tree has covered the object, the vascular tissue repairs and continues to work. Constriction all the way round prevents vascular movement up and down and in due course causes decline and often death.

There are some wonderful images of trees that have enveloped items that have been growing in close proximity. Please click on the link below just to see some truly remarkable objects.

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