Local news

Tree Warden Group - Merton - December 2014


Merton’s Budget Proposals contain huge issues for Merton and its citizens, yet Merton Cabinet Members appear to be taking big decisions behind closed doors instead of consulting the constituency that they serve. Even when they do consult, they don’t abide by the outcome. 

Privatisation of the management of Green Spaces will mean another layer of management, a further cost centre, and ultimately fewer staff and less cash to pay for physically tending our precious green spaces. 

The Leader of the Council is urged to think carefully of the consequences of his actions. Thousands of volunteers that work tirelessly — and for no payment whatsoever — may not be so keen to ‘volunteer’ their precious time for a distant, profit-making company'. 


It’s not too late to report vacant tree pits via the council website Street Scene Enquiry Form on:

http://www.merton.gov.uk/environment/trees.htm. Do suggest an appropriate species that will fit in with other trees in the street. 


If you want to carry out minor works to street trees on your patch contact Jane to arrange training and collect a high viz vest. Tools from our store can be borrowed. 


The programme of surveying has been completed by five TWs led by Dan Sitch and Dave Lofthouse. Jim Smith of the Forestry Commission organised the London-wide survey. 


The Friends group at the Canons (FROC) has surveyed the planting in the walled Peace Garden and will carry out pruning works before next spring. If you want to be involved with this or other tasks, ring John and arrange to come to a Friends workday (3rd Sunday of the month). 


A timely article from Dave Lofthouse, Greenspaces Arboricultural Manager 

“Within the arboricultural profession we have been talking about Bio-Security for some years and perhaps we have unreasonably assumed that others understand the concept. But even among professionals the term sometimes gets blurred and seems simply to refer to P and D – our old Pest and Disease file from college days. There’s plenty in that, but Bio-Security is not about fungi or insects which have been around for years; it is not even about something like Honey Fungus, which can reach epidemic proportions locally at times. It’s about problems imported into an environment where there are no co-evolved resistances – often where the new environment is under great stress and subject to huge changes. Our city is such an environment. The urban heat island effect can mean summer temperatures raised 4, 5 or 6 degrees above ‘normal’ – whatever that might be, given climate change and the variations we are now getting as standard in rainfall events and other ‘unseasonal‘ weather. And let’s not forget that we’ve covered our bit of the planet with a lot of tarmac and paving and that we direct much of the rain straight into the Thames. Our examples of bio-security threats illustrate most of the salient points. 

"Dutch Elm Disease was an early warning – a virulent and aggressive strain of a known killer. Oak Processionary Moth extending its range as climate permits and introduced by our unnatural habit of importing trees to one of the finest tree growing areas of Europe. Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner very likely has piggy-backed across Europe via our own travelling and trading habits. Chalara disease of Ash might just be a longer standing resident but it’s certainly linked to that same importing habit – importing ASH to the UK! And lastly Planes. The wholesale Plane killer Ceratocystis platani is, we hope, not yet present in the UK. Our own London Tree Officers Association is searching for it across London in the fervent hope of NOT finding it so that import controls can be maintained. But Planes are big trees – we don’t yet know how big because it’s likely that none of ours has yet reached maturity, having only existed as a hybrid for about 350 years! Many of London’s are stressed; many may be running out of water and there are other threats to them – diseases and human pressures. 

"Bio-Security is a major issue – each of the cases above can be serious on its own but when we begin to understand that many of the root causes of the arrival, re-distribution and lack of resistance to them are the same, then perhaps we’ll be better educated to deal with this cocktail of dangers."


All tasks run from 10am to 1pm. We recommend wearing strong shoes or boots. Jan Sun 4th, Feb Sun 1st  Mar Sun 1st Workday at Ravensbury Park

Meet at central bridge on river to help Friends with various tasks dependent on season e.g. pruning, litterpicking, sycamore felling. Also mid-week gardening.  Contact Jane 07773 406 105. Jan Sun 18th, Feb Sun 15th, Mar Sun 15th Workday at The Canons, Madeira Rd. 

To help Friends' group with various tasks dependent on season e.g. pruning wall shrubs, trimming hedges, fruit hedge, managing Bellamy’s Copse. Contact John 07739 513 948 

Treasurer: John Davis, 9 Cricket Green Mitcham CR4 4LB, 020 8640 4578, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Volunteer Co-ordinator: Jane Plant, 464 Kingston Road London SW20 8DX, 020 8543 0790 or 07773 406 105, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Join us on:


Share this page: