Street trees lacking leaves

We’ve moved onto a new street and seeing the trees we have on the street have been cut back so much they didn’t produce one leaf this year.

Any keen gardeners got any tips to give them a boost or if its something Lewisham council can help with?

I suggest you water these trees.

Are they plane trees that have been pollarded? The ones on Church Rise are cut back to an alarming extent every few years but they always grow back. Nothing you can do other than wait for spring.

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Lewisham do this very rarely so most residents are happy when they do it and hope that it is quite severe as it will be years before the next visit.

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Thanks for the replies. It could be from pollarding, added a photo so you might have a better idea. I hope it does encourage some new growth.

It’s not pollarding. It’s as Sherwood suggests, the new trees need regular watering - 20 litres a week and a lot more in hot, dry weather. Can neighbours agree a watering rota across the summer?

No, they’re not pollarded plane trees. I’ve never known small street trees like that to be cut back. How long have they been there? There was a street tree initiative this year paid for by local residents (a tree in my road is doing very well because the person who paid for it has watered it regularly) but I think those trees have a sign on and a new-looking wooden support, which the trees in your photos don’t appear to have.

If they were cut back I very much doubt it was by Lewisham Council. So either someone else cut them or they are newly planted trees that weren’t watered enough.

I’ve just had a look on Google Streetview. The trees have been there for years but looking back at the oldest photo (June 2008) they actually looked better then than they do now. In fact back then there were 6 trees, and now there are only 4 (as of April 2018 anyway).

I guess it’s because of chronic underwatering since they were planted.

This is really helpful, thanks @blushingsnail. We moved here in Jan so assumed it would come to life in Spring.

Will take your points onboard and make an effort to water it with my house plants from now on. Would there be any tips to it, ive seen some larger roadside trees with a tube that I would assume would get better access to the roots.

Someone on TV said it may not seem like it, but we have not had much rain this year.

Until these trees develop deep tap roots they will need watering.

The trees planted recently have a watering tube but the ones in your road don’t, so I guess just pour the water on and hope for the best.

Brockley Street Trees is the group organising tree planting in the borough and this page has advice on watering newly planted trees:

Basically, 20 litres (measured, don’t just guess) once a week from March-October (even if it has been raining) and more often in hot weather

It might be worth contacting them about your trees. Send them the photos, say they’re at least 10 years old but aren’t flourishing, and ask if they think it might be anything other than lack of water.

Are there still 4 trees in your road? Sharing the work might be a good way to get to know your neighbours! 20 litres would be at least 3 watering cans - times that by 4 trees and it’s a lot for just one person to do.

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