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elm avenueWithin the next few weeks Enfield Council is hoping to start work to restore the double avenue of trees in Broomfield Park which extends in a straight line across the whole of the top field from the western edge of the Park in the direction of the ornamental ponds and remains of Broomfield House.  The avenues and the remains of a former "causeway" running between the tree lines are regarded as important features relating to the Park's Baroque history.

The existing avenue of lime trees was planted around 35 years ago to replace the former impressive avenue of pollarded elm trees, which was lost to Dutch Elm Disease in the late 1970s.  Unfortunately, because of damage by grass cutting machinery or vandalism, the council has had to fell many of the lime trees, while others are in poor shape.

The public consultation on the future of Broomfield Park and Broomfield House finishes on Sunday 30th November


Location of double avenue of lime trees in Broomfield Park

Location of the double avenue of lime trees

Only nineteen of the existing lime trees are considered suitable for retention.  The stumps of eleven trees will be removed and 50 new trees planted.  Like the existing limes, the new trees will be of the species Tilla Cordata ("Greenspire") (Small Lime Leaf) - a species which is native to Britain.

Why not replant elms?

The Council looked into the option of replanting the avenue with elms,  but this would have involved the extra cost of felling and replacing with elms the 19 lime trees that are in good condition.  Furthermore, further destruction by Dutch Elm Disease could not be ruled out, as there are no 100 per cent resistant species available.  Elms would also have been vulnerable to Elm Yellows Phytoplasma (Candidatus Phytoplasma Ulmi).  This is a bacterial disease which kills the vessels within the trees system that provide the uptake and transport of water and nutrients around the trees system, killing the tree.  This disease has been identified in tree nurseries in Cambridgeshire.

elm avenue in broomfield 1971 copyright by Christine Matthews© Christine Matthews and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The former avenue of elms photographed in 1971 by Christine Matthews

To ensure that the new trees fare better than their predecessors, the Council will be surrounding each tree with a protective fence.  A three-year aftercare programme, including watering using preinstalled irrigation tubes, will assist the trees' survival and growth into mature trees.  The Council has said that if necessary, it will use its own in-house team to continue watering the trees after the completion of the aftercare programme.




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Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #2007 11 Feb 2016 18:41
The work to replant the double Lime tree avenue in Broomfield Park has begun at last, after bad weather caused a short delay. Three trees been planted and positions for many others have been staked out.

Although I've seen pictures and maps showing the avenue in its prime, it's only when standing the centre of the four rows that I realised how big the whole planting scheme was. The avenue, or rather three avenues since there are four rows of trees, was aligned in relation to the House and its gardens.

Looking west from the garden area, the southernmost avenue can be seen framed by the gap or claire-voie in the listed wall.

Looking east towards Broomfield House, the avenue aligns with the claire-voie and the arched gateway on Broomfield Lane.

The main "gateway" opening in the listed wall aligns with the central avenue.

Looking back towards Broomfield House, the alignment through the main gap in the wall to the House is clear.

The northen avenue is on an alignment with the third gap or claire-voie in the listed wall and the summer house/shelter against the rear wall (both also listed) behind Broomfield House. However, the view from the shelter is largely obscured by later tree growth. When the limes reach full height they might again be visible.

Not many of us around today will see the avenue in anything like its full glory, but this is an important stage in the long history of Broomfield Park.
Adrian Day's Avatar
Adrian Day posted a reply #2017 17 Feb 2016 22:05
Interesting piece. Thanks Colin