As Beech residents will have seen in the last edition of Beech News, ash dieback has unfortunately arrived in Beech Recreation Ground, particularly in the copse. The Beech Village Hall Management Committee sought your feedback on the best way to deal with it. The end-September deadline for feedback has now passed. We’ll publish an update soon, but in the meantime please read on to find out more about the problem and potential solutions.
Our dilemma is that we would like to preserve the affected trees for as long as possible, but on the other hand we must ensure public safety. Dead branches and limbs can fall unexpectedly, and potentially a whole tree could fall. Furthermore, the longer the diseased trees remain standing, the harder – and therefore the more expensive – it is to manage them.
With input from a local tree surgeon, we have identified four options to deal with this:
- Watchful monitoring. Close off the copse for public safety.
- Seek more advice and do the minimum work of removing dead branches and carrying out regular checks.
- Divide the copse into sections—say, four quadrants. Remove trees in each quadrant in turn. Replant and improve the area in stages.
- Remove all the trees in a single operation. Leave stumps up to 5 metres high, which will be ideal habitat for many insects and provide food for woodpeckers, tree creepers and so on.
Amongst all this gloom, there does seem to be an opportunity. If and when the trees in the copse come down, we could replant with diverse native trees, encourage wildlife and make the area interesting for walkers and families.
For more information, including the advantages and disadvantages of each option, you can see Nick Sorby’s article in Beech News here.