Letter: Speedy growth of majestic city trees

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The Independent Online
Sir: Chris Baines may be right in his gloomy prognostications of the effect of cable-laying operations ('Cable-laying schemes 'damage 10 per cent of street trees' ', 24 March), but he is surely too pessimistic when he says the casualties 'cannot be replaced within our lifetime'.

Street trees can grow much more quickly than many people realise. In 1973, an ambitious programme of planting street trees was begun in Bristol as a partnership between the public, who subscribed money to an appeal organised by the local civic society, and the local authority, which provided the manpower and resources to plant the trees purchased by the public subscription.

Most of the trees were planted as 'extra-heavy standards' (approximately 15ft tall) to make them more vandal-resistant, and many of them, particularly the London planes, have now grown into quite majestic specimens in the space of 20 years. Sadly, the local authority seems to find it necessary to prune them in a way which destroys their elegant form for the substantial part of the year when they are out of leaf, but that's another story.

Yours faithfully,



26 March

(Photograph omitted)