Happy trees in Springfield Road

The houses in Springfield Road were built from about 1863 on, but there is no firm date for the decision to line the road with “conker” trees. Whoever had that lovely vision is long gone, but the horse chestnuts they planted matured, and remained a splendid sight for generations of residents. There were originally at least 22 trees in an orderly line in the top part of Springfield Road alone. But in the last decade some of them have suffered.

In old age trees are more susceptible to disease, and there has also been a ‘conker tree canker’ afflicting trees up and down the country. But the trees have two other enemies. The first is… cars. The Springfield Road trees were unprotected from the bumpers of careless drivers, and when badly bruised ‘canker’ and bugs encroach. But luckily when the parking scheme comes in that problem should be minimized. And the second enemy? It is simple neglect. Only now that so many are lost are we noticing the gaping holes in this supposed Conservation area tree-lined street. Somehow, as we watched David Attenborough telling us about losing the rainforests, we forgot to look out of the window.

But that is about to change. It is time to reverse the decline, and in conjunction with the Council’s arboriculture department the work has begun.

The extent of the problem

Of its original trees upper Springfield Road has recently lost four trees, but an audit shows that the total lost is probably several more. The bottom reach of Springfield may have lost half of its canopy, with nothing now fronting Wellend Villas. The current trees being replaced in the upper road are opposite numbers 134, The Open House pub, 174 and 182. The residents committee has worked hard and is now firmly promised replacements for these four, by April 2013. These will be still horse chestnut, but a hardier variety – Aesculus Indica – which arboriculturalists say is disease resistant but has slightly smaller conkers. Sorry kids!

But there also seem to be sites where holes have actually been tarmacked over waiting for replacement. It is hard to tell as original spacing was irregular, but there certainly seem to be gaps at the top of the road. The exact original sites can be glimpsed by looking at the tarmac, but as the new trees go in their locations should be shown as obvious gaps in the re-planting. Does anyone have old photos to show the exact locations?

So, with the promised four saplings in place in April it will fall upon residents to protect them as they grow. We have asked the Council to provide what protection it can, by stakes or bollards, but residents need to come on board to protect and look after the trees. What we need are …

Tree champions!

It may help if the road could have a volunteer guardian for every tree, to be its eyes and ears, to report any problems, arrange for new stakes, love and care for it or whatever. There are it seems 22 sites of trees, living or on the way. Can SRRA have tree champion volunteers please? Kids often love to get involved in this, and plant flowers underneath. Any missing trees not on the current replanting schedule will need special champions. Without people willing to push to replace them, and be their champions, they will be gone forever. So who will come forward to fight for trees?

Let’s get planting … Streets in Bloom

With our new trees proudly in place, and others on the way, there is every reason to encourage planting around them, and SRRA is promoting Streets in Bloom to compliment that. There are developments in the pipeline – watch this space.

Useful Numbers/contacts

The two principal officers to contact regarding tree planting are and . They work under the management of The telephone contact number for them is 01273 292929. I can also be contacted direct for help, if I can, as I know the history of the current replanting – and so can our Cllr Mike, who has helped throughout, on

Let’s get our trees back!

Edward White

Notices on trees

We acknowledge that notices on trees are helpful in some cases, such as publicising a lost cat. However, the association wants to discourage the use of pinned notices on trees. Pins cause disease and can destroy trees.

Brighton & Hove City council’s Tree home page

Follow us on Twitter – @SouthdownRise

2 thoughts on “Trees

  1. Gren Nation

    I saw a Council tree pruning gang in Grantham Road on Monday 27th October so hopefully they’re operating in this area.

    I found this on the Council website:

    “The recent stormy weather we’ve encountered since October 2013 and winter 2014 have led to us prioritising hazardous trees and other issues caused by the bad weather. This has had a knock on effect, reducing the number of street trees pruned and delaying pre-scheduled and proactive works by approximately 12 months.”

  2. Lesley Peers

    One concern we have is that the annual or bi-ennial severe pruning of the trees in Southdown Avenue as used to happen seems to have been largely neglected, and some of the trees are now much taller than the houses. These trees are very old and in a very high wind may pose a danger to adjacent houses and parked cars, as in 1987. It would be interesting and reassuring to know that the Council have the need for regular severe pruning in their budget.

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