Removal of Declining Norway Maple at John Coles Park

13th January 2022 / News archive

Removal of declining Norway Maple in John Coles Park

Following condition surveys of the trees in John Coles Park, it was noted in 2021 that the large mature Norway Maple at the north-east entrance of the park was displaying several non-specific symptoms of poor health such as root and trunk hollowing, sap bleeding and reduced leaf vitality.

To retain the tree within the park whilst reducing the risk of harm to visitors, a rope and post barrier fence was established around the tree in April 2021 to deter direct access and improve soil conditions. Other measures taken included the crown of the tree being reduced in size to reduce the effect of wind-throw and reduce the overall weight on the structurally compromised trunk.

Sadly, despite the measures taken the tree will be removed week commencing 17 January 2022.  The rope and post barriers will be left in place, and we would request that members of the public continue to remain outside of the barriers to reduce any potential spread.

The culprit of these symptoms of ill health became apparent this year, when a large crop of fungal fruiting bodies, commonly known as honey fungus, fruited around the base of the tree during autumn.

The main part of the fungus resides underground, undetected, and can be present and decaying the tree for many years before conditions are favourable,  and the tree’s defences are weakened enough, for the reproductive part of the fungus to fruit above ground, the visible ‘mushroom’.

The presence of the above ground mushroom is required before a certain diagnosis can be made. Honey fungus decays the parts of the tree which transport water and sugar, as well as the roots, and will eventually kill the tree. In a natural woodland, this is part of the natural process of growth and decay, however in a public park the only responsible course of action is to remove the tree before it dies or falls over.