Friday, 1 February 2013

Archive: Brockley Society Newsletter article - autumn 2010

This article was originally published in the Brockley Society Newsletter in the autumn of 2010


Our conservation area has a fine architectural environment but do we really appreciate how important are our glorious trees to its character?

It's not just that they look pleasant but that they are paramount in filtering toxins from the air and providing fresh oxygen. Additionally, they keep us cool in summer; apparent to any commuter returning from the centre of town and also protected in winter. They also provide valuable habitat for wildlife and reduce the amount of dust in the air. Add to that the privacy and reduction in noise pollution they provide and that's more than our best friends can do! 

Yet ignorance of the basic fact that they absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen is apparently widespread. In a recent poll, nearly a fifth of Britons didn't know this basic fact. In protecting our trees and ensuring new ones are planted we are doing our bit not just for our local environment and neighbours but in a small way, for the ecology of the planet, which apparently needs friends.

So what can we do to help? If you have a garden, make sure your trees are happy. Most trees benefit from good pruning, which is likely to make your neighbours happy too. Young trees are particularly vulnerable and may need watering during dry periods and protecting during the winter.

Brockley was once an area of orchards; so if you are thinking of planting a tree, consider a fruit tree. They are usually of manageable size and of course give you free organic fruit, which will make your supermarket less happy. But remember, neglected trees can become vulnerable to disease or toppling over. This is a particular risk for a fruit ladened tree on a slope during wet and windy weather.

If you don't have a garden, keep an eye on the trees in your area. Be aware of trees that need pruning or a spot where a tree could be planted or is missing and let the council know. All private trees in our conservation area are protected like the buildings and require planning permission before any felling or pruning is permitted. So please keep us informed of any potential abuse. The BrocSoc keeps an eye on all applications and is always interested in any helpful information you may have.

Of course, it's not just the trees that benefit from regular pruning. Most hedges and bushes grow better when pruned back at the right time. With most plants this can be done throughout the growing season, after flowering. I don't need to add Londoners, that hedge cutting is good exercise! It is also an art and you don't need to be a sculptor in exotic animals to add a bit of shape and variety to a hedge. This will also keep the pavements clearer and that'll keep everyone happy!

Aside from all their other benefits, the beauty of our trees should not be underestimated in helping to make us feel good and (arguably) better behaved!

Anthony Russell 
Tree Warden
The Brockley Society

1 comment:

  1. Your site is so beautiful. This so helpful post. Thank you.


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