Gardens & wildlife

Replacing Trees in Ditchling Rise Area

Emily Cross and Elspeth Broady met with Neil Brothers, BHCC Arboriculturalist, 21st May 2018 In the last couple of years, five street trees (mostly horse chesthuts) have had to be cut down: three in Ditchling Rise and two in Shaftesbury Place.

Our street trees are increasingly subject to a ‘perfect storm’ of pathogens: bleeding canker (Pseudomonas syringae pv. Aesculi or Phytophthora), horse chestnut leaf minor (Cameraria ohridella) and leaf blotch (Guignardia aesculi).

Physical damage to trees, mostly from cars in the street, weakens the trees so they are more likely to succumb to these diseases and have to be felled.

The stumps are left in the ground to protect the space for the possibility of future tree planting.

There have been significant cuts to the arboricultural service and there is now only 1 arboriculturalist dealing with the whole of Brighton and Hove. Consideration of the replacement of street trees will not happen in our area until 2019-2020 at the earliest.

If we want to replace street trees in Ditchling Rise, then we need fund-raise to purchase the trees. The variety being recommended is the Indian horse-chestnut (Aesculus indica), slightly smaller than the established variety we have growing in Ditchling Rise currently (Aesculus hippocastanum).

Cost per tree £320 per tree

To plant the tree, the current tree stumps have to be removed and ground down. This is undertaken by the Highways Department. While they will undertake this work, their budgets have also been restricted, so it may take some time before they are able to prepare the planting area.

Cost to prepare planting area £2000 - £5000 – this will be covered by BHCC.

Once a tree is planted, the major threat is from cars. Effective protection of tree pits is well-nigh unaffordable.

A secondary threat is from drought, so volunteers would need to undertake regular watering throughout the summer months.

Residents in the Springfield Rd area have managed to crowdfund to purchase replacement trees, but are now waiting for Highways to prepare the planting area.

They are happy to share their experience. They emphasised the need for a ‘champion’ to oversee the project to tree planting and longer term, to tree maintenance. The DRARA Treasurer would also need to be involved in managing the funds raised through fund-raising.

Ideas for fund-raising: collection at street party in September, donations from a guided ‘tree walk’ of the area.

This page was last updated by Ted on 01-Oct-2018
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