A TREE surgeon has spoken out about the destruction of West Cork’s native hedgerows after witnessing a man use a JCB bucket to rip limbs from a mature ash tree.
The tree surgeon believes that if he worked in the same way he’d be prosecuted by the authorities. ‘I’d never work again,’ he said. ‘They’d shame me.’
The man said he felt obligated to speak out because he understands the damage caused to trees by improper pruning.
‘If trees are taken apart like that, water will get into the cracks where the limbs have been ripped out,’ he said. ‘Even in situations where landowners do not carry out the work themselves, they would be held liable if a decaying tree falls down and damages power lines, or falls onto the public roadway.’
Recently, the surgeon said he saw a JCB driver strike a mature ash tree several times with the bucket and rip out several limbs. ‘It was really brutal,’ he said, ‘I could not believe it.’ He said he is aware that there is a local authority scheme which provides incentives for landowners to clear, or cut, their hedgerows in seasons where there is no nesting or hatching happening.
Speaking in his professional capacity, he said he found it hard to comprehend how Cork County Council has one policy that appears to respect nature, bird life, and biodiversity, but on the other gives free reign to unskilled workers to rip up and destroy hedging in such a reckless manner.
The tree surgeon said he did not wish to be overly critical of the Council because the Council does, from time to time, engage tree surgeons to do some work, particularly with mature trees in town centres.
He said he is merely appealing to the public to speak up and to the Council to be more conscientious in protecting native trees and the biodiversity of our hedgerows.