An Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven) in full leaf, appears to have been caught by a south westerly gust of wind last week and fell, missing the Fenner Brockway statue by about 10 feet. A number of people witnessed the fall, with reports of a groaning then a great crack! Apart from a smashed bench and a few flattened shrubs, no serious harm befell the site or users.
The remaining half of the tree has been severely pollarded by the repair squad as a precaution. Ailanthus are often considered to be ‘weed trees’, sending up suckers easily and growing rapidly. It is expected that not only will this tree be felled but also the adjacent dead Tree of Heaven, another one on the other side of the entry by the bus stop, and a damaged sorbus in the vicinity. This area of the Gardens will be much changed and opened up. Perhaps replacements will be considered in the future.
Health & Safety inspections take place for all trees every three years and the London Planes are individually inspected every year.
Whilst any tree loss is terribly sad, indeed this particular tree is known as Tree of hell due to its invasiveness, so in this case it is not so devastating. However, I do hope that the dead tree will be allowed to remain in situ (as is now the case in so many public parks) to benefit and host to at-risk invertebrates, and the lovely forms of life a dead tree will host such as fungi, mosses and more. can you let me know if this might happen?