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Town Bridge Willow Tree To Be Felled

Published on: 1 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 3 Mar, 2017

The decayed willow tree that is scheduled to be felled. It is one of three adjacent to the Town Bridge.

By Megan Wilman

An ageing willow tree alongside Guildford’s Town Bridge is set to be cut down.

Believed to be between 80-100 years old, a council inspection has found it has decayed with age and must be removed as part of tree conservation works taking place in Guildford town centre at the beginning of March.

According to the British Hardwood Tree Nursery website the life expectancy of willow trees, 50-70 years, is one of the shortest of British hardwoods.

Guildford Borough Council has been monitoring the tree for several years and have decided that the decay has caused deterioration in the structural condition, making it unsafe.

The tree is believed to have become structurall unsound and, being so close to a busy pedestrian route, could cause injury if it collapsed.

A council spokesperson said: “In the interest of public health and safety the removal is necessary. A new willow sapling will be replacing it.”

Cllr Richard Billington

Cllr Richard Billington (Con, Tillingbourne), lead councillor for rural economy, countryside, parks and leisure said: “This willow tree has come to the end of its natural life, so to protect the public we need to remove it.

“We value all of the trees in our borough so this is not a decision we take lightly, but rest assured we will be planting a new willow sapling in its place.”

In addition, work will also include the re-pollarding of a number of plane and willow trees along Millmead.

The tree works will begin on Thursday, March 2.

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test 4 Responses to Town Bridge Willow Tree To Be Felled

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    March 1, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Always such a shame when a fine old tree has to be felled. Just think of all that it has witnessed over the course of its lifetime.

    It would be good if the opportunity was taken to tidy the spot that it sits on and perhaps plant a new willow tree?

    Willow is a tree that roots readily from cuttings, so perhaps a new tree, grown on from a cutting of this tree could be planted to carry on it’s lineage?

    Hopefully its nearby compatriots are still good and healthy.

    As stated in the article, the council does intend to plant a replacement sapling. Ed

  2. Katie Bangweal Reply

    March 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    The willow tree directly opposite this, on other side of the river, needs urgent attention too – hopefully this shall be addressed in the review.

    There is a branch that has grown far too close or is even touching the ornate lamp post on the bridge. If this is not addressed it shall continue to damage and ultimately destroy the historic lantern. If I can see this why do all these experts with measuring sticks, drinking tea, not take any action?

  3. A Tatlow Reply

    March 1, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    What effect has the thick ivy had on the longevity of this willow I wonder? Good to hear a replacement will be planted.

    I still miss the willows that used to grow alongside the Tillingbourne river by The Compasses Inn at Gomshall.

    According to a RHS webpage: “On most trees that are in sound health and are not being grown for their attractive bark, ivy can be allowed to grow on the trunk without concern for the tree’s health or vigour.

    “Ivy is not a parasite like mistletoe and does not penetrate a tree’s bark or roots; the short, root-like growths which form along climbing stems are for support only. Its own root system below ground supplies it with water and nutrients and is unlikely to be strongly competitive with the trees on which it is growing. It is also found mainly on established or mature trees where, unlike young trees, some competition can be tolerated.

    “Where ivy may be a problem is with very old or damaged trees. Firstly, its dense evergreen cover may hide cavities or areas of decay. Secondly, it can become an additional weight in the canopy which, in time, could affect stability of the tree, particularly in windy conditions.” Ed

  4. Jules Cranwell Reply

    March 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    “Guildford Borough Council has been monitoring the tree for several years…” If this is true, how did they fail to notice the massive amount of ivy choking the life of of the tree. If they had noticed and done something about it, it could probably been saved.

    As noted, experts say that ivy does not necessarily adversely affect a trees health. Ed

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