Removal of elm tree from St Andrew Square Garden


Essential Edinburgh has been advised by both Potter Tree Consultancy and the City of Edinburgh Council to remove an elm tree in the interests of public safety from the quiet south east corner of St Andrew Square Garden.

Following a tree safety report commissioned by Essential Edinburgh in the aftermath of Storm Hector, it was discovered that the Elm has significant fungal decay. On the advice of the Potter Tree Consultancy the tree, which was classified as high risk, will be removed shortly and be replaced by a semi-mature tree in due course.

Andrew Potter PgCert BSc Hons (For) MICFor M.Arbor.A, Principal Arboricultural Consultant for Potter Tree Consultancy said:

“After the recent adverse weather event caused by storm Hector on Thursday 14th June 2018 Essential Edinburgh instructed Potter Tree Consultancy to conduct a walk-through survey of the trees to check for any damage to the trees on the site and identify any potential risks that may be posed to either person(s) and or property.

“During this survey fungal fruiting brackets were observed on two trees on the site (Trees T24 & T75), these brackets were both new and had not been present during the initial tree survey of the gardens carried out on 13th and 14th October 2016. Closer examination of the fungal brackets identified them as species of wood decay fungi, in the case of the Elm tree (T24) this was Dryad’s Saddle which can cause extensive decay and whole trunk fracture over time. As such Potter Tree Consultancy recommended that internal decay testing and a climbing inspection be carried out as the fungal bracket was at a height of 6-7 metres on one of the two co-dominant trunks on the Elm tree.

“Internal decay testing involved the use of a state-of-the-art IML PD400 micro-drill unit, the device measures the resistance of the timber to the drill-bit and provides a graphic print out showing areas of solid wood, voids/cavities and degraded timber. Based on the test results it was found that there was 6.0cm, 10.5cm, 4.7cm and 5.9cm of solid wood in the four sample tests. The minimum required solid wood required for a trunk of this size is 8.4cm, as such three of the four tests revealed that there was insufficient solid wood remaining to support the weight of the trunk. A copy of the Arboricultural report (AP R/0051 dated 26th June) was then sent across to Edinburgh City Council for their reference and a site meeting held with the Arboricutural Officers (Graham Hinshelwood & Steven Milne) to discuss the tree and get their input in terms of the best management option to make the tree safe and work within the constraints posed by the Conservation Area status of the site (New Town Conservation Area).

“Based on this meeting it was decided that the most practical management solution was to fell the tree, retaining a five metre high stump to be used to create a wooden sculpture on the site and re-plant a new advanced nursery stock tree in a nearby location on the site. This will ensure that continuity of tree cover will be maintained on the site both currently and into the future for future generation to enjoy in the gardens.”

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