Diseased trees get the chop at Harborough recreation site

One of the felled horsechesnut trees at Little Bowden Recreation Ground, off Northampton Road, in Market Harborough. Picture supplied by Darren Woodiwiss
One of the felled horsechesnut trees at Little Bowden Recreation Ground, off Northampton Road, in Market Harborough. Picture supplied by Darren Woodiwiss

Horse chestnut trees in a Market Harborough park have been chopped down after they became potentially dangerous due to disease.

The Aesculus Hippocastanum trees at Little Bowden Recreation Ground, off Northampton Road, had structural defects caused by bleeding canker and oyster fungus, and large amounts of dieback.

The five trees, some of which were up to 70-years-old, are to be replaced with English oaks (Quercus Robur), which have had four to six seasons in a nursery and up to eight years’ growth at the Coles Nursery in Thurnby.

A routine assessment of about 120 trees across the district carried out in 2013-14 on behalf of Harborough Council discovered the diseased specimens last autumn and winter.

The survey was carried out by an independent tree inspector.

No complaints had actually been made about the state of the trees.

One other tree has also been found to be diseased, an ash tree (Fraxinus Excelsior) at Davis Close, Harborough, which is infected with inonotus hispidus.

This is due to be felled soon.

Harborough resident Darren Woodiswiss, who is a member of the green group Transition Harborough, said: “It is a great shame when we lose any grand and noble tree from our historic parks and streets.

“It is a sign of the relentless march of many recently-established diseases that are wreaking arboreal havoc across the country.

“Happening at a time of austerity, no-one is taking the responsibility of trying to improve the health of our trees or replanting the ones that are tragically lost.

“Each tree lost is a mini oasis of life in our urban environment gone and, besides, we all love to see trees as they are good for our souls.”

A Harborough Council spokesman said: “We had to remove some horse chestnut trees due to disease.

“We have all trees independently assessed and they are only removed if they are dead, diseased or dangerous.

“Some oak saplings and established trees are to be planted where some of the diseased trees have been removed.”