The is an ongoing series about trees in and around Wolverhampton in public spaces. We’ll be looking at the big, the small, the funny and the tall.
Hornbeam – Aldersley Ave
Opposite the Pilot pub, this tree first stood out to me because of the fact it had lost all its leaves when the neighbouring 2 (also hornbeam) were still in leaf. From a distance, the brown objects throughout the crown appear to be leaves. They are not. They are actually the seeds of the tree. The trees also have a distinctive shape and form. The leaves are similar to beech tree leaves (beech tree leaves have tiny hairs around the outside of the leaf). The bark is also slightly different than a beech tree.
The leaf loss on this tree is probably due to the roots being restricted by the brick-lined planting pit and the others nearby will probably have the same problem in years to come, once they outgrow their space.
Really the pit should have been made bigger to allow for future growth but a bigger pit takes up more ground space and I don’t think the local residents would be happy with loosing half the pavement and access to their driveways. Larger pits are also likely to be driven on. This will cause soil compaction, which is very bad for tree roots.
Hornbeam is a really solid wood, its heavy and dense with many uses going back centuries, it’s main use is for handles and cutting boards. It’s hard and difficult to work so it has been avoided for use in general carpentry. The tree itself can make a nice stand alone tree in parks or gardens and they do make great hedges. There were some slender (fastigiate) varieties developed which we thought to make great street trees. The stay slender for a while but get wider in their middle age and become quite wide spreading. There is a wide spreading on near to the Beacon Centre for the Blind on the junction of Wolverhampton Rd East and Dovedale road.