Supporting failure? Damage inflicted to establishing trees in London by a range of tree support and protection systems

Thacker, H., Martin, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-7560-7611 and Slater, D., 2018. Supporting failure? Damage inflicted to establishing trees in London by a range of tree support and protection systems. Arboricultural Journal, 40 (3), pp. 162-188. ISSN 0307-1375

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Urban foresters employ a diverse range of different tree support and protection systems (TSPS) to help trees establish in the urban environment; however, in some cases, TSPS can cause damage to their host trees.

A survey was undertaken of 762 establishing trees across fourteen London boroughs to determine which types of TSPS are in current use, to assess how different systems perform and to record the frequency and severity of damage to trees associated with these different types and configurations of TSPS.

We found that TSPS-associated damage was highly prevalent within the sampled population, affecting 34.8% of the trees surveyed. Failure to remove TSPS components after the establishment phase was responsible for more than 80% of the cases of severe damage to trees found by this survey.

A comparison between the performance of several TSPS configurations in terms of their effectiveness and association with different TSPS damage types identified that the “two posts and ties” system performed consistently well in comparison with all other TSPS assessed. The survey data also highlighted a 35% rate of TSPSassociated damage related to the use of protective structures and that severe girdling damage and the development of adverse stem taper was more frequent when a TSPS incorporated the use of rubber spacers.

We conclude that some simple changes to current tree planting practice would help to minimize the impact of TSPS-associated damage in our urban forests.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Arboricultural Journal
Creators: Thacker, H., Martin, J. and Slater, D.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 13 July 2018
Volume: 40
Number: 3
ISSN: 0307-1375
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 04 Sep 2018 14:11
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2019 03:00

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