Fell or prune?

I have recently been involved in the assessment of two Cedars in a local village.  Both trees are included in a TPO that covers most of the trees in the churchyard and they DO offer amenity value – although only to a relatively small number of people. 

In the recent past, they have shed branches – one quite large. 

As there are listed buildings nearby – as well as the various memorials in the churchyard – it is clear why those responsible wanted to understand the level of risk involved. 

I gave two options.

One option was to prune. The opportunities to prune though were very limited due to the pruning carried out in the past, which has left all the foliage at the periphery of the crown. Any further pruning would leave ever smaller tufts at the end of bare branches.

The other option was to fell the trees and replace them with something more appropriate – perhaps just a single tree. 

It’s a bitter pill, but given the propensity of the species to shed limbs in both predictable conditions (e.g. snow lying on branches) and unpredictable conditions (e.g. ’Summer Branch Drop’). I feel that this is the most pragmatic solution. 

I don’t imagine that those who planted the trees ever anticipated how much space they really required for mature growth.  In this case, the fact the trees have been there for a long time and that they are visible does not trump the value of the buildings. 

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