Residents' Concern Over 'Wholly Inappropriate' Tree Pruning

Council high pollards Duke's Avenue lime trees to ensure they 'don't take over'

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Residents of Duke's Avenue have their voiced concerns over the "inappropriate pruning of the lime trees" along the road.

Speaking to, one resident said, "The pruning goes far beyond what is statutorily required. All primary branches have been removed to a height of at least seven metres and very few secondary branches have been left above this height, so that the trees are virtually completely denuded. The worst example has just five leaves left remaining on the tree.

"The avenue of lime trees in Duke’s Avenue, which is of great antiquity (barring those specimens which replaced trees lost in the great storm of October 1987), is one of the glories of Chiswick.

"It is disgraceful that the Council’s contractors should undertake such radical pruning at a period when the trees are at their most magnificent in early summer. I appreciate that the Council has to adopt a rolling programme of pruning throughout the year, but question whether it was really necessary to prune Duke’s Avenue at such an inappropriate time and to such an extent."

Responding to these concerns, Cllr Peter Thompson said, "I certainly share your concerns about pruning works being carried out when the trees are in leaf and you will not be too surprised to hear that many other residents throughout the Borough have made similar complaints.

"We have spoken at length to our contractors regarding this matter. The contractors have advised that this is the most effective and best way of maintaining the Lime trees across the borough.

"As per our current tree strategy, Forest trees such as ‘Limes’ and ‘Planes’ are pruned on a 3 year cycle. We have to prioritise pruning of Plane trees during winter and before they come into leaf due to health and safety risks arising when Plane trees are in leaf as the dust from both the leaves’ undersides and the cut wood is carcinogenic and harmful to the operatives as well as members of the public/residents. Lime trees in normal health will not be unduly affected by the timing of the pruning and will grow back quickly and will have a more healthy growth.

"For reasons of scheduling many of the Lime trees will be pruned during spring, summer or early autumn. However I would like to reassure you that we will raise this issue with the contractor and request that when the next pruning is due that it be conducted in winter and not when the tree is in full leaf!"

A council spokesman added, "These limes have been 'high pollarded' - which removes all green growth. Though the works do look drastic, it does not harm the growth of the tree, and helps make sure that they do not take over. This is standard practice for managing limes and planes within the street scene locally, and across England and Europe, and it is shown to slow the growth of the root system."

June 23, 2009