Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A virtuoso performance - Russell Miller at the Stephen Lawrence Centre

On a lovely autumn day in October, an enthusiastic group of some 60 tree enthusiasts from Lewisham and outlying areas gathered at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Brookmill Park, Deptford for an absolutely virtuoso lecture and guided talk by Russell Miller, a hugely experienced arboriculturalist and ecologist, Chair of the Ancient Tree Forum and coordinator of Tree Musketeers in Hackney.

In the light and airy setting of an upstairs room at the centre, Russell gave us a whistle-stop tour of the challenges facing trees planted in our streets, from the rigours of radiant heat traps, how to spot the signs of heat stress, effective watering regimes, the need to mulch and the pros and cons of tree supports, to name but a few of the topics he covered with such aplomb. 

After a delicious lunch, we decamped to the adjacent Brookmill Park and spent an absolutely fascinating hour or so being educated and entertained as Russell demonstrated why he is such an in-demand speaker and educator. His knowledge about the trees species in the park (and associated fauna) was absolutely breath-taking. He fielded all our many questions about the humble London Plane, Copper Beech, Alder, Poplar and two kinds of conifer (which I forget the names of!) and left us wanting to keep him there for as long as possible!

Here, Russell is showing us the tell-tale gall formed by 
nymphs of the Poplar petiole gall aphid, Pemphigus populitranversus
It was a fitting end of year event to mark yet another busy and productive year for Street Trees for Living. This planting season we will be planting a further 200+ street trees across the borough, each with their own guardian/sponsor charged with getting them through those first two critical years after planting. Another development is the very welcome contact and collaboration with other individuals and organisations wanting to learn from our example. New significant contacts include Margate and Thanet, both wanting us to share our methods and learning.

Our gratitude to all the staff of the Stephen Lawrence Centre for their generous help and support in making this event such a success. 

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