Tree fellers at it again!

The Sequoiadendron giganteum,

– better known to us as
the Wellingtonia tree.

This tree has the distinction of being the largest living thing on earth, although you couldn’t say that about the two trees in Queen Street, opposite the Post Office.
This tree can reach a height of over 60ft although the record is a tree in California that stands at 280ft – again, you couldn’t say that about the two on Queen Street.
This tree is also fast growing and has roots that spread out, not down.

Now this you can say about these two trees.The roots have spread so far that they are damaging the stone retaining wall that fronts the Queen Street footpath, to the point of its being dangerous.Kettering Borough Council has instructed Mr & Mrs Askew, the owners of The Croft, to rebuild the wall.

And thereby, lives a tale. The County Council’s structural engineers, arboriculturists and historical architects have all been involved in the lengthy discussions about what to do with the wall and the trees.

The one answer agreed by all was that the wall has to be rebuilt, (Can you number the stones before pulling them down, Mrs Askew?), but it has to be relieved of the 56lbs of psi pressure that the earth behind it is generating.

The only way to resolve that situation is to dig a trench down behind the wall, holding the garden earth back by means of a below ground level retaining wall, then filling the trench with an aggregate, before rebuilding the wall.

The leaning towers
The leaning towers

These jobs always sound so easy – but easier said than done.

Because the snag here is that any serious digging behind the wall, will affect the trees’ roots and because they spread sideways more than downwards, any damage to the roots will destabilise their hold on the earth.

As can be seen on this image, they lean towards the road already and, in a high wind, have been known to lift parts of the house. Removing their grip on the earth would mean they could come down at any time, given the right conditions. So very reluctantly, the decision to have the trees removed had to be made.

There is no argument that the wall has to be retained, but there are other conditions as well. Mrs Askew, in a conversation with, said: “The trees have to be replaced, and with a native species.”

Rose Tree Care Ltd is the company responsible for removing the trees, which are approximately 110 years old, and it will take several days to complete the job. James +1James Rose (on the left) is a Graduate of Forestry & Lowland Management and has a degree in Forestry & Timber. His climbing skills, though, are self taught, although he has all the diplomas to attest to his passing the necessary exams

His clients include Boughton Estates, Kelmarsh and Lamport Halls and he was contracted to do the tree clearing around the recent Pytchley Road Bridge project.

It is always sad when healthy trees have to come down, more so in this case perhaps, as they have been part of the scenery for over a century. In addition the soft wood is too brittle to be used as construction material, although it can be made into small poles for use in vineyards. Does that give you ideas, Nigel?


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