Diseased trees to be reduced in height

Tree works are to be carried out in the churchyard of the Kirk of St Nicholas in Aberdeen city centre to tackle a disease.

The lime trees are directly behind the Smith Screen granite structure which fronts onto Union Street and the action will mean they will be protected and preserved for the future by preventing the fungal infections Ganoderma and Kretzschmaria from spreading.

The crown of each of the trees – Latin name Tillia x europaea - is to be removed.

Two of the 14 trees which are to be pollarded (the crown removed) are suffering from the fungal infections. However, carrying out this work on only the two affected trees would affect the stability of the others, leaving them at risk of toppling in high winds, and creating a health and safety risk endangering not only those visiting the Kirkyard or on Union Street, but also the Smith Screen.

Reducing the height of these trees will also significantly reduce the amount of bird and insect waste and leaves falling onto the Smith Screen, as well as reducing algae and foliage growth. Additionally it will reduce the amount of leaves and sap which create a slip hazard on the footpath.

The pollarding work will allow the City Council to retain the trees and preserve them for the future, while preventing further damage.

There is an additional health and safety reason to reduce the height of all of these trees as they would be at risk of toppling in high winds due to the way the branches have grown together.

The toppling would be a health and safety risk to those visiting the kirkyard and to people on Union Street, as well as a risk of damaging part of the Smith Screen.

Aberdeen City Council Depute Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said: “Reducing the height of the trees will mean we will have safer, healthier, and more manageable trees, which allow more light into the kirkyard and will provide a green backdrop to the structure arches.

“Our planning and structures teams are meantime continuing working on proposals to clean the Smith Screen.”

Work to clean and tidy up the Smith Screen is part of the £1million Operation Union Street Rejuvenation, part of the City Centre Masterplan.