It's fair to say that there's very little downtime for the team at Streetwise, whatever the season. But autumn and winter present their own challenges that make planning more challenging.
Spring and summer are busy times, but the work load is predictable. But as the evenings draw in, and the weather patterns become somewhat random, we need to be on hand to meet the unexpected. High winds, torrential rain, ice and snow all bring with them problems that require prompt and efficient attention.
It's worth remembering that, while we are on hand to deal with emergencies, there is also a huge amount we can do to ensure you are prepared for all eventualities. In the first of this series of blogs on preparing for winter, and to coincide with the date of the great gales of 1987, we talk trees.
Trees shed their leaves in autumn to help them survive the cold, dry air of winter. Our worst weather tends to occur once the leaves have fallen, but in 1987 the unprecedented gales came at a time when most trees were still fully clad. It's widely believed that the destruction that was wreaked that night would have been much less severe if it had occurred a month later when the branches were bare.
120 mph gusts of wind were recorded on the night of 15/16 October 1987, and the damage caused over much of England was widespread and devastating. An estimated 15 million trees were felled, including six of Sevenoaks ancient oak trees. Almost a quarter of Kent's trees were brought down. Fallen trees blocked roads and railways, caused untold damage to property, and caused the loss of life.
While weather forecasting has become more reliable over the course of the last thirty years, it's unlikely that any amount of accurate advance warning would have saved those trees. But that catastrophic event does serve as a reminder of the damage that can be caused by fallen trees, and highlights the need for good tree maintenance.
If left undisciplined, trees can become hazardous. Long term maintenance schedules provide reassurance that potential problems are literally nipped in the bud. Regular pruning means that trees maintain a strong structure - removing dead, diseased or damaged branches strengthens the tree, and removing co-dominant leading branches makes trees more robust in strong winds. While a regular schedule of tree maintenance is important, it's also vital that dead or damaged branches are removed as soon as they're spotted.
At Streetwise we have a team of experts on call to provide solutions to long term plans and short term crises. We carry out tree hazard surveys and risk management, and we manage on-site trees to ensure they're safe – and of course to meet Health and Safety obligations. We also carry out tree felling, stump removal, and are on hand to deal with fallen trees. As October progresses into November, leaf clearing is a substantial daily task for our team!
On a more upbeat note, let's not forget that we are approaching the inevitable run up to Christmas when the fir tree comes into its own. We are often tasked with installing Christmas lights on both living and cut trees for a range of customers including schools, councils and developers. This year, we will be installing a beautifully lit for a new school, Bluecoat School in Bilborough on behalf of the developers Wates. As in previous years we will be creating a light show in the busy shopping area of Tudor Square in Nottingham, turning the humble London Plane tree into a dazzling tree of light with 2,500 low energy light bulbs, and also lighting up trees in Bridgford on Central Avenue.
Our customers include large developers, local authorities, landowners, and individuals, and our arboreal services are extensive. Whatever your needs, give us a call to talk about trees on 0115 9148408.
John Scott-Lee, managing director