Tree Works at Massie Close, Willen Park

Poplar work at Willen Park banner.jpg
22 January 2019

Throughout the week commencing 4th February 2019, we will be carrying out some necessary tree works along the canal section of Massie Close, Willen Park. We will be removing the line of trees neighbouring the residential housing, due to concerns about their size, maturity and close proximity to the homes. We will replace the Lombardy Poplars in this section with a more suitable tree species (Amanogawa Cherries). We expect this work to be completed by the 8th February, although it is weather dependent.

We must recognise that some of the Lombardy Poplars (Populus nigra) that form the avenue of trees along the canal broadwalk are no longer appropriate to the location and at times some of the trees will need removing and replacing. Some of the Poplars are already starting to cause us and our close neighbours concern regarding safety and subsidence issues. Others are slowly starting to fail and die back (towards the end of their life, Lombardy Poplars tend to decline quite quickly).

We understand this avenue of Poplars is significant visually and an iconic landmark and will do everything we can to ensure continuity for the future in the way we manage this landscape feature. Visually the choice of Lombardy Poplar is striking, however, where these Poplars are found in situ with housing, there are very real conflicts including subsidence issues (these trees have a very high water take up). When the Poplars were planted over 35 years ago, many were planted in advance of the associated housing. A small element of those trees are only four or five metres from individual houses. Some of the large Poplars are also causing disruption in the associated broadwalk.

As these trees start to become unsuitable to their location and need to be removed, it is our intention that the original design of an avenue of Lombardy Poplars should be retained by planting new ones. However, where the Poplars have come into conflict with nearby housing and structures (less than 5% of total numbers), more suitable species should be used as replacements.  We have previously planted Amanogawa Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Amanogawa’) as a replacement to the Lombardy Poplar as it a similar growth habit, and will be using this tree again in the Massie Close area. It produces a pink flower (single to semi-double). These trees can achieve a height of 7- 8 metres with a modest crown spread of two metres or so.  The bark (peeling in nature) is generally coppery-red.

If you have any further questions, please contact our Landscape Management team in 01908 233600.