Suffering street trees – the battle of the urban environment

Too many times do we come across trees that have simply been hacked at, battered and bruised at the base, or just appear outright stressed. It’s certainly an unfortunate sight, and it really does have an adverse impact upon the streetscape – unhealthy and unsightly trees can make an area appear uncared for.

In this case, we can see four Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’ that, whilst relatively pretty in blossom, have suffered significant pruning wounds and basal damage (from the overhead wires being kept free of branches and parked cars, respectively). As a result, fungal colonisation has occurred, and their form is not to be desired. Even during summer, they aren’t particularly graceful specimens. I sounded all four with a hammer, and they didn’t indicate extensive hollowing, though I remain sceptical about there not being much decay. Given sporophores have breached out onto multiple sides of all of the trees, their decay columns may very likely be extensive (at least) in the radial direction.

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Here sit the four trees, within small planters in the pavement. Atop the crowns, we can see electricity and phone wires.
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This individual bears the marks of previous topping cuts. At the base, we can see a Ganoderma sp. (suspected G. australe).
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Another individual shows fewer signs of aggressive past pruning, though upon close inspection it has lost quite a few large branches in the past (as a result of keeping the crown clear from the overhead wires and the roadway).
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A third tree. Again very messy, and again not particularly graceful. There is plenty of fungal colonisation at the base of this one.
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Here we can see the overhead wires and how the crown has been historically pruned back.
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A close up of a Ganoderma sp. (suspected G. australe), which are found on three of the four trees.
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A second tree shows signs of colonisation on both sides of the butt (old brackets), with a central sporophore still active.
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A large branch removal has allowed Laetiporus sulphureus to colonise. Here, we can observe an old sporophore. It will likely fruit again this year.
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Suffering street trees – the battle of the urban environment

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