In 2015 Place Services' Tree Team were successful in securing a place on the The Royal Parks Arboricultural Advisory Services Framework for Detailed Tree Investigations. The main focus of this work is the use of specialist decay detection equipment to assist The Royal Park's tree officers with their tree risk management duties across the estate. Place Services possess a full suite of specialist decay detection equipment including: PICUS 3 Sonic Tomography; IML-RESI PowerDrill 400 & PICUS Tree Motion Sensors (TMS).
In May 2017 Arboricultural Consultant Oliver Tong and Junior Arboricultural Consultant Stephen Cozens assisted The Royal Parks with some detailed tree investigations in Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens, utilising the PICUS 3 Sonic Tomography device to assess the extent of decay and remaining sound wood in trees exhibiting fungal fruiting bodies.
The tree pictured above is a high value grafted copper beech Fagus sylvatica Atropurpurea, which is located next to West Carriage Drive, a busy road which intersects Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park in central London.
The graft point is easily distinguishable, due to the unusual bulging base of the lower part or rootstock, which contrasts drastically in width with the upper part or scion.
Fungal fruiting bodies of two separate decay fungi were identified by tree officers; and which due to the high value of the tree and the potential risk posed to the road, required a more detailed inspection.
Multiple brackets of Ganoderma spp. could be seen on the rootstock with further fruit bodies of Kretzschmaria deusta at the asexual or anamorph stage on the scion.
It was decided to perform two tests at different levels; the first was carried out on the rootstock near to ground level and the second above the graft point on the scion. The readings or tomograms can be seen above, both of which indicate advanced decay with minimal functional wood remaining.
The results of this work enabled the tree officers to make an informed decision on the management of this tree.