Time to get to root of problem trees

I read the article in the August 8 Advertiser and feel it is time to follow up with a personal letter as I too am ‘up in arms”!

It is time, in my view, that Erewash Borough Council put more thought into ‘problem trees’. We have a very unsatisfactory situation in Ockbrook where a pine tree, originally one of a pair of small decorative trees planted each side of the gateway shortly after the house was built, over 100 yeas ago, has out grown its beauty and size — a beautiful tree in the wrong place.

This tree is causing a lot of worry to my husband and I myself with its roots breaking up the Tarmac and stone slab surface of our drive, raising the slabs on our next door neighbour’s drive, and starting to show upwards pressure right up to the walls of both houses. The tree is far too big to be at the back edge of the pavement, from where it also spreads halfway across the road. As well as the physical damage, this tree also drops pine needles several inches long which first of all make the pavement slippery to walk on, and then wash into the roadside gullies.

We were considering having this tree felled to be replaced by one more suited to the location a few years ago, and asked a tree surgeon to quote for doing the job, but the day after we had stood on the pavement working out how such a large tree could be removed without taking down telephone wires and blocking the road, a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)arrived from the council. We challenged this order but were told it should be preserved.

We both like trees but are at a loss as to what can be done to ease this problem, which you will appreciate didn’t appear as such when we bought the house 46 years ago. When my husband pointed out that both our house and next door could be damaged by the roots, or some one tripped on one of the uneven driveways, the answer given was: “Don’t worry, Your insurance will pay for that”. We have doubts on that score, and don’t want to wait to see who is right!

Meanwhile, we can see clumps of pine needles hanging over the neighbour’s spouting, water running down walls when it rains, and neither of us is young enough or fit enough to climb up to clear these blockages. Pigeons nest and roost overnight in the tree leaving a sticky mess on the drive so that we have to show visitors where to park if they want to be able to see through their windscreens when they leave, and then to be careful where they walk to avoid trampling an unhealthy sticky mess into our house or their car. This isn’t too much of a problem in the long hot days of summer, as then it is only necessary to avoid the drips of tree resin which are waterproof and won’t wash off.

This tree is making our lives a misery, and I wonder where our human rights come into play. Surely when we care for our own property and generally get on well with our neighbours, we shouldn’t have to put up with a dangerously uneven drive and related problems due to a single tree.Regardless of how I write I do love trees, but must say that there comes a time when one can outgrow the pleasure it gives when it is so close to the house and road, and I would desperately like to make an attractive, even and safe to walk on the driveway to the home we have carefully restored over the years.

Finally, we were informed by the tree surgeon that it is not a good idea to prune a pine tree as this will lead to uneven growth, making the tree look unbalanced and unstable.

Please can anyone advise us of a solution to this problem?

Anne Bailey,