Longstanding root damage to the Dawn Redwood tree (Metasequoia Glyptostobodies) near the Smeall Building, St Luke’s Campus, has caused disease and decay which now makes the tree potentially unsafe in high winds. The University’s  Grounds and Arboricultural team has advised that the tree must be removed urgently so this work will take place this Saturday, 4th October. Felling a tree is the last resort for our Grounds team, who take great pride in the rich diversity that helped secure a Green Flag award for the Grounds. Sadly, as this tree is situated near offices and residential properties, they are left with no other option. The tree will be replaced with the same species.

The instability has been caused by historic damage to one of the tree’s major roots. Disease and decay has set in over the years. This has found its way back into the bowl of the tree and there is now a risk of the tree failing and hurting people or damaging property if a high wind hits the tree.

The Dawn Redwood species was rediscovered by plant hunters in China in the 1940’s after previously having only been known in fossil records. This particular tree is understood to have been planted at St Luke’s during the 1970’s or 80’s (though a ring count will help confirm its age).

The area will be cordoned off while the removal works are taking place and the Grounds Team will ensure the soil is well prepared ready for a replacement tree to be planted nearby in the Spring of 2015.

The essential works will require the periodic use of chainsaws and a chipper, but these will not be started until after 9am.  The works have to be implemented at the weekend to manage the risk to anyone using or visiting the campus. The tree is in proximity to a high-use pathway.

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes to our neighbours.