Bartlett Tree Experts warn over tree rock salt deaths

Bartlett Tree Experts research director Dr Bruce Fraedrich has warned that thousands of trees are in danger of being killed off by rock salt used on icy roads and pavements.

Dr Fraedrich said: "It is impractical to avoid salting because safety is obviously an important issue.

"A lot of trees are affected by airborne salt kicked up by traffic. It settles on leaves, desiccating the tree.

‘Some trees absorb the sodium and others suffer from root damage, caused by salt seeping into the soil."

The cold winter has exacerbated the problem this year. The extent of the issue will become clear when trees come into leaf this spring.

London borough of Southwark councillor Robin Crookshank Hilton said: "The council needs to make its contractors and the public aware of the costs incurred by the unfortunate application of salted grit in tree pits on the pavements during inclement weather."

It costs the London Borough of Southwark £280 a time to fell a dead tree and £400 to plant a replacement.

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