The Parliament of Trees

BXAG have provided some more detail - perhaps more detail than you dreamed possible - about the tree planting that has taken place along Brockley Road over the last couple of weeks:

Last year the Council widened the pavements outside the shops as part of a road safety project funded by TfL, but had no funds for any pavement enhancements. So BXAG teamed up with Transition Town Brockley, who submitted a successful bid to the Brockley Assembly for £4600 to cover the cost of new tree pits & trees along Brockley Road.

Following a series of meetings with Council officers we agreed a scheme to plant six trees, three on each of the pavement extensions. We would have liked to plant trees elsewhere on Brockley Road but there are underground services in most locations making the excavation of the tree pits impossible. In a change from the usual single tree in a pit approach three trees are planted in a rectangular tree pits at 2 metre spacings. This will make a much greater impact and will create more of an “urban forest” effect.

The bigger pits, with over 800mm depth of new topsoil, will provide more room for root growth and rainfall catchment so should give the trees a better chance of survival. These pits can also be colonised by the community at a later date, for example by planting spring flowering bulbs. The tree species we have chosen is a lovely native tree Whitebeam (Sorbus aria), which has greyish green foliage, white flowers in early summer and red berries (much loved by birds) in autumn. They have an attractive shape and won’t grow too big, so there should be no worries about shade. They will be planted as large standard specimens up to 4 metres tall and will be protected against damage with ornamental tree guards.

We hope the Whitebeam tree will in time become Brockley’s main signature tree, planted around Brockley Cross and along Coulgate Street. This will help strengthen Brockley Cross’s identity. The council have assured us the trees will be watered regularly as part of a contract. Watering may be something the community could also get involved in, to ensure our trees survive the inevitable droughts that will come our way.