Two of London’s oldest trees face felling after fungus attack

Hackney's London plane trees

London plane trees in Hackney Park, Pic: @ian_stephens

Two of London’s oldest trees, situated in Clissold Park,  in Stoke Newington, are to be felled in the future  having been “colonised” by a root-rotting fungus.

The 250-year-old London plane trees, which sit to the rear of Clissold House, are infected with ‘Meripilus Giganteus’ decay fungi. According to a spokesperson for Hackney Council, the fungus “has compromised the structural integrity of their root plates.”

The spokesperson added: “Following a public consultation, Hackney Council will undertake crown reduction works to safely manage the decline of the two mature London plane trees to the rear of Clissold House.”

Before being removed, the trees will be pruned, in an attempt to extend the time they have left in Clissold Park. According to the council the ancient trees will be “retained for as long as is safe to do so for the benefit of all who visit the park.”

Initial pruning work on the two trees Pic: Nell Greenhill

Once cut down, the legacy of the London planes will not be over. Cuttings from the two trees are to be re-planted in another part of Clissold Park from which fresh trees will be grown.

These saplings will join the “twenty-three replacement trees that have been planted in Clissold Park this winter,” said the council.

Further fellings

The news follows claims that Hackney Council of being overzealous with cutting down trees in 2016.

Figures, obtained by Engineering and Technology magazine, show that the number of trees felled in Hackney rose by over 200 percent in a single year, from 58 in 2015, to 189 in 2016.

Following the reports, Woodland Trust representative Joseph Coles reminded Hackney Council to only resort to felling when “absolutely necessary,” saying: “If mature trees are replaced with young specimens, it can significantly reduce the effectiveness of a canopy lining a street, with many other associated impacts.”

Clissold House, Clissold Park

Clissold House in Clissold Park Pic: Mike Quinn

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