The independent London newspaper

Who sold this idea with the trees?

28 November, 2019

• PEOPLE will have noticed for some months that young trees, live or truly dead, have been fitted with green plastic hydration bags round them from stock of Camden’s favourite tree contractor, Barcham.

Then these bags were enveloped in a flimsy metal mesh screen guard, held in place by a few staples up and down the wooden stake which might be well secured in the ground or wobbly.

The mesh prevents access to the hydration bag’s little horizontal slit for water from a spout, as the intended purpose clearly is. Some tree pits show a flexible black plastic feeding tube which is protruding a bit from the surface and some can be a tripping hazard.

The idea of the large tube is to fill it to get water to the root stock, at the base, so that the developing roots are drawn downwards to the moisture and don’t spread close to the (rainwater) surface and thereby lift the paving material over time.

Stability of the growing tree might be another benefit of deep roots… The hydration bags do exactly the opposite to the growing roots.

If filled at all, water is released slowly over the surface of the pit it stands on. However London clay will not be sufficiently permeable to allow the slow-released water go deep. More likely it will evaporate from the surface and draw the roots up.

This method of watering might be beneficial to young saplings in areas of different soil geology, like in the Chilterns and Scandinavia where chalk is the soil, not heavy, impermeable, clay as in London.

So who was the clever salesman? Where are the funds from for this? Hopefully we will get an explanation from somewhere for what these plastic and metal contraptions and ugly visual obstructions round every young tree, live or truly dead, are for.

For the Camden Town Urban Design Improvement Society
POB 10850


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