These photos show just some of the many trees at Mountsfield Park and other Lewisham parks that are dead or dying mainly due to strimmer and mower damage by Lewisham Council and their parks and open spaces contractor. Severe soil compaction due to vehicular traffic and also drought are also factors contributing to the demise of many of the trees in Lewisham’s parks and open spaces.
Lewisham Council encourages external funding sought by volunteers for new and replacement tree planting eg from London tree and woodland awards, to make London greener, biodiverse, healthier, cleaner, more welcoming and more resilient. The future of existing and newly planted trees in Lewisham’s Parks and open spaces is uncertain if Lewisham Council continues to insist on short neatly cut grass up to the base of each parkland tree. At Hilly Fields park, Lewisham Council has recently experimented with mower and strimmer prohibition near to trees, which has effectively reduced further tree damage there. This approach should be applied by Lewisham’s green space officers and parks staff across the borough to protect trees, unless the Council is willing to invest in a more controlled, better resourced and skilled maintenance of our parks and open spaces.
References: 1. Arboriculture Research Note 1992. Issued by the Arboricultural Advisory & Information Service. Blight to trees caused by vegetation control machinery. D Patch, A Denyer. 2. Arboricultural Journal 2018 vol 40. Effects of strimmer damage to young ash trees. Sally A Shuck and Duncan Slater. 3. Tree Wounds – Invitations to Wood Decay Fungi 2018. Nicole Ward Gauthier, William E. Fountain, Traci Missun. University of Kentucky.