Stewart's Initial Tree Research (Jan 2013)

Local resident Stewart kindly agreed to provide background research for the committee on tree options in January 2013.

This page documents Stewart's initial research.

Please see the link at the bottom of this page for tree images and specificationss.


I promised to prepare a note regarding the options for the number, location and type of trees. The present position of the residents is that:

*  we strongly support tree planting in the street

* and also support a pair of bay trees to be situated at each end of the road ( not clear yet if these will be in the ground or in planters ).   

Options for planting :

Number of trees

There is a strong feeling – expressed at the last residents’ meeting - that the proposal from the council for around 27 trees ( 13 on south side and 14 on north side in addition to the four bay trees ) is perhaps too many and would leave the road feeling a little packed. It might be better to reduce the number to say, 15 ( a total of 19 with the bay trees ), with 8 on the north side of the road and seven on the south side.

The north side would include 2 outside Arlington Lodge ( in the area currently marked out with 3 Ts ), 4 between number 2 and 28 ( there are two existing trees on the north side outside 28 and 30 ) and 2 between there and Acre Lane. The seven on the south side will spread from between 27/29 and the end of the road. This will look even on both sides for that part of the road ( I’ve marked these up on the road map ).

If we can have more trees on the Brixton Hill end of the road ( between number 1 and 25 and in the remaining space outside Arlington Lodge ), these would be additional ( see next note ).

Extending trees at the Brixton Hill end of the street

At the moment the trees on the south side are to start from number 27/29 and on the north side , about half way along Arlington Lodge. Tony ( at no 3 ) has asked if it would be possible to add 2-3 trees this end of the road, north and south, if necessary using planters. We are waiting to hear from the council on this.

At the moment we have been told that this section is difficult to plant because of  ‘services’ below ground.  The feeling is that visually - especially as trees matured over the years - it would look very odd with the trees only starting half-way down ( on the south ) and three-quarters on the north and give the impression of separating the street. In addition, the foliage on the trees would also help with absorbing some of the traffic noise from Brixton Hill, which has a greater impact on those houses closer to that junction.

If this is possible, these trees would be in addition to the 15 for the rest of the road we are proposing above. The ideal number would probably be one on north side and 2 on south side.

Kees is checking this and will let us know what is possible. 

Mix and type of tree

On the question of which mix and type of trees, there are two main options ( also see photos below ) .

OPTION 1 : a single variety

To go for a single variety of tree throughout. If we opt for this I would strongly recommend  Betula Utilis Jacquemontii ( best varieties ‘jermyms’ or ‘silver shadow’.  It may seem odd to go for a single variety but, for example, a number of streets in Dulwich of a similar length have been planted either with a large number of  Betula Utilis Jacquemontii, or in some cases ( eg Carver Rd, Herne Hill SE24  ) exclusively this tree. This is a particularly spectacular variety of silver birch which looks good all years round. In Carver Rd, even though there are some older varieties, the effect is very striking. Even if we went for this option, we will still of course have the four bay trees ( dark leaved, evergreen ) which will contrast well with the white bark.

OPTION 2: more than one variety

To go for a small number of trees. On this option, I would strongly suggest three or maximum of four varieties and also having more Betula U J than the others.  I would suggest 7 of these ( 2 to north and 5 to south spaced together as suggested below ). These would look best planted in groups rather than mixed. Other good choices that would mix well with this tree would be (All these trees are relatively compact and of right sort of shape and mix of seasonal interest ): 

Betula Utilis Jacquemontii jermyms or silver shadow 

Liquidambar Styraciflua Worplesdon    ( sweet gum )

Pyrus Calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ – ornamental pear     

Prunus Hillier Spire    

Cornus Kousa or other variety of flowering dogwood ( white or cream variety ) best varities are chinensus ( creamy white ); china girl, Norman hadden or Milky Way.  We need advise from Dave on whether this is a suitable street tree.

Of these species, four are on Dave’s original list; I am waiting to hear back from Dave on availability and we may have to adjust plans accordingly.

There was a preference at the last meeting for mature trees if possible. 


There would need to be at least 3 mts from  lampposts   

Here is one possible lay-out ( using three or four trees ) . Clearly the precise positioning would require a site visit with Dave.

North side

-          Area outside Arlington Lodge: we could go for three if we can have them extended towards Brixton Hill and two if not – these two should be roughly where the current ( 3 ) T markings are : I would suggest 2/3  Betula Utilis Jaquemontii in this space

-          then 4 between no 2 and the tree outside no 28 ( these could be either Prunus Hillier Spire or Cornus Kousa  or 2 of each )

-           then two trees sitting either side of the Tesco exit  - Liquidambar Styraciflua Worplesdon     or Pyrus Calleryana ‘Chanticleer’

South side

-          5 between 27/29 and exit from Baytree Ct (  Betula Utilis Jaquemontii )

-          2 beyond Baytree Court (Liquidambar Styraciflua Worplesdon  or Pyrus Calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ )

-          If we are able to have them, 2 trees at Brixton Hill end ( between 1 and 25 ), possibly a Cornus Kousa or the Acer campestre Louisa red shine). Of course, if they are in planters they may need to be a smaller tree ( eg Amelanchier lamarckii, Snowy mespilus

Images and detailed notes below :

These are provided in the attached file.