The verges of Montreal Park were originally planted with Cherry trees that produced striking spring and autumn colours. The spectacle was much admired not only by residents, but that generation of trees has largely died off.
Some are lost naturally each year and the task of replacing them is considerable. Verge trees need to be robust, contending with drought, poor soil, honey fungus and, sadly, vandalism. To that can be added strimmers!
Responsibility for tree maintenance lies with Kent County Council, but they no longer have a budget to replace them. That means it’s up to us, as residents, to fund the removal of dead trees and the planting of new ones, to restore the verges to something like their former glory.
We have a “trees sub-committee” which has a broad plan, encompassing several years, for replacing trees that die or are coming to the end of their life. Our current approach is towards a mixed planting programme with deciduous trees of different longevity that should grow to become colourful and glorious as well as interesting. The aim is to produce an overall impression of tree cover that is visually pleasing and enhancing to the open character of the estate. In their own small way, they should add a simple, natural quality to our environment from which we can all benefit.
The subcommittee meets regularly with KCC’s local tree officer. Together we agree each year which species of trees will be planted, and where. KCC plant the trees and also commit to watering the new trees several times a year (although this is not enough – see below for how you can help). The specimens they provide are a few years old so should establish well, and they are planted with high quality supporting stakes and straps and watering pipes which enable water to be taken down to the roots, where it is needed.
The support of members in funding the replacement of trees and in watering young trees in times of drought is very much appreciated. If you see that a new tree has been planted outside your house, please remember that it has been paid for out of MPRA subscription funds. It might not need watering over winter but, once its leaves start to emerge, please just give it two big watering cans’ full of water once a week, pouring it into the watering pipe. If the weather gets very hot it may need more than two cans, but once a week will still be fine. Keep an eye out for MPRA emails in the summer which will tell you when extra water is needed.
Please do try to avoid the temptation to mow right up to the trunks of trees. It causes damage.
Any questions, please email email@example.com.