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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

This in today.

This is not any ordinary street tree.

Because of both the way this tree looks and its position, I’ve always thought of it as being pretty old. It must have been associated with a pair of the first ‘suburban’ buildings in Harringay that stood where Mountview Court is from the middle of the 19th century. It may even have been associated with the ancient hedgerow that predates even that. What a pity to see it go. It must be the oldest thing left on Green Lanes, living or dead, for a couple of miles in either direction.

I'm not hopeful, but I've replied to Clare, asking if there's really nothing that can be done and have copied in our councillorsm for what it's worth. 

Dear Hugh

This is to inform your members that a tree is scheduled for removal in Harringay Ward. The tree has been colonised by a decay fungi Rigidoporus ulmarius.

The Horse Chestnut is located opposite 661 Green Lanes N8

You cannot treat decay fungi once it has colonised a tree. The fungal fruiting bodies usually only appear after the trunk or branch are substantially decayed. The Chestnut trees stability can weaken rapidly. We have procured an independent decay detection report which recommends removal.

Trees identified with fungal fruiting bodies or other major defects cannot be safely retained on the public highway where the risk of damage or injury is high. Unfortunately, in situations like this, removal is the only option. It is regrettable when mature trees have to be removed, however, the Council has a duty of care with regards to trees and must take action where hazards are evident to minimise the risk to people and property.

A warning sign was erected on the tree informing residents that it is to be removed back in October.

Works are being undertaken 14th January 23.

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact me

Clare Pappalardo

Senior Arboricultural Officer


Haringey Council

Arboricultural and Allotment Service, Level 1 (North), River Park House, 225 High Road London, N22 8HQ


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It would be a shame to lose such a mighty tree. The Extinction Rebellion lot have been pretty good at occupying tree's to save them - this could be another opportunity for them. 

I just had a quick whizz through the film that Chris Setz linked to. I've looked at it many times before, but always in scan mode. Each time I scan it, I pick up on something different. Today, a watercolour of, I think, Bruce Grove caught my eye. It shows old trees embedded in the line of the hedgerow, just like I imagine this chestnut having been (although, by the time of the painting. in fact the hedgerow had already changed to a fence line).

This morning's reply to my email.

Dear Hugh,

Thank you for your email

Whilst it is always regrettable to see mature trees being removed however this trees’ stability has been compromised. This tree is located on a main arterial road through the borough and the risk of failure is very high. This highway tree is located right beside very busy stretch of 30 mph highway (Green Lanes). The traffic flow underneath the tree is constant. The road is well used and a bus stop is located directly beneath the tree. The risk rating is Very High.

Near the base it was identified as having 1x large Rigidoporus ulmarius fruiting body on north west side. A fresh pore layer a clear indicator the fungus is currently active within the wood substrate, there is notable crown die back also. Overall vitality of the tree is moderate to poor. The dieback is a factor here as is the presence of foliar disorders (Cameraria ohridella and Guignardia aesculi) which will be have been impairing photosynthetic activity since mid[1]summer.>

Rigidoporus ulmarius is a pathogenic fungal species with a heart rot strategy, typically occupying the buttress level although it can cause decay below ground. The fungus selectively breaks down cellulose within the internal structure of the wood creating a brown rot. In advanced cases, this can lead to mechanical failure of the stem base or root plate. The greatest loss of mechanical wood quality is within the region nearest to the fungal fruiting body. This is typical of fungal decay and to be expected. Therefore, it can be stated that the north-western quadrant of the basal region, in particular, has been significantly weakened.

The marked variance in resistance within the heartwood region, as shown by deep peaks and troughs in the readings is indicative of wood undergoing active decay – fresh pore layers also confirms the fungus remains active within the wood substrate. From this is can be assumed that the tree does not have the decay compartmentalized and further decay of the wood substrate can be predicted. Significant heartwood decay has been interpreted from the readings of the undertaken test drillings.

The target area that may be affected by decay-induced mechanical failure is very high given the level of occupancy along this stretch of highway. The likelihood of severe harm in such an event is high./p>

The reason for the preferred ‘removal’ option is that the decay is advanced, & highly likely to advance throughout the wood substrate given it is highly unlikely to have been compartmentalized by the tree. The target area next to a busy highway is one that could foreseeably result in severe harm/damage in the event of failure

I hope the above provides further insight into the decision made.

We are planning on planting new trees in the vicinity


Clare Pappalardo
Senior Arboricultural Officer

Hi Everyone,

SHIFT and Haringey Tree Protectors have looked at the situation regarding this tree and we have been in touch with Alex Fraser, head of Haringey's tree department. Unfortunately, the chestnut cannot be saved. It has a lot of rot, we have seen the test results, and it is in danger of falling. A tree of this size could cause serious damage and death of pedestrians or motorists if left standing. We have, however, been informed that five new replacement trees will be planted within the vicinity. 

Glenys, SHIFT (Stop Home Insurers Felling Trees).

Thanks for the update.

Particularly because it was one of a pair of trees of the same species, with its partner surviving, I'd love the replacement to be a Horse chestnut. Perhaps they could set it back a little behind the wall in the gardens in front if Mountview Court, but I strongly suspect it will be one from the limited selection of more amenable street tree varieties that the council uses. 

Age-test result added here.

So by time of my comment (16th) that poor old tree will have been chopped and carted.  Real sad.  Thanks for post Hugh.



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