West Ham Park trees

The Friends of West Ham Park write: 

Where are the trees going?

Have you wondered why trees are being felled in West Ham Park? No healthy tree is ever felled, but at least 50 trees are no longer healthy. The culprit is last year’s hot dry summer, great for humans but not for trees. When it did rain, the water ran away over the hard-baked ground, so did not soak down to the tree roots. Lack of water stresses the trees, which are then more susceptible to disease, like the Sooty Bark Disease which has affected the Sycamore trees. This fungus is also dangerous for people, causing breathing difficulties.

In order to try and save the trees, and benefit the grass and other plants, the park has bought a “spiking machine”. This will be towed behind the tractor and drive spikes 20cm into the ground at regular intervals, making holes for air and water to get into the soil. We hope that this will also help those birds who feed on worms and other insects to find their food.We have noticed a reduction in number of these birds recently.

The spiking machine

In the longer term trees will be replanted, using different species and in different locations. It is not possible to put a new tree directly where the felled ones were growing, especially close to the paths where soil compaction is worst. Roots take 5 years to rot away, and anyway, the position has already killed one tree!

Hopefully these measures will work and West Ham Park will stay leafy and beautiful.

Thank you, Friends of West Ham Park for this interesting update!

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