Work will begin on Monday (20 November) to fell ten cherry trees in Highfields Park, with replacements scheduled to be planted in the New Year.

All the trees are unfortunately diseased and have been in decline for a number of years, meaning they are now in a dangerous condition.

They will be replaced with semi mature cherries, which will line the path from the tram stop to Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre. The path is also being re-surfaced and lit by newly restored gas lamps, leading to a beautiful hand-crafted iron gate by the tram stop. The work is part of a £4.8m restoration project, which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme and Nottingham City Council.

The existing trees, assumed to be part of the first planting in the park, are thought to date from 1925, making them about 90 years old. This is far beyond the usual lifespan of this species of cherry tree, which helps to explain why they are in decline and have become infected with a fungus, which causes a brittle fracture of the stem. The ‘Ganoderma’ fungus has been recorded since 2009 and there was a recommendation that the trees should be felled in 2012.

Cllr Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “We understand there will undoubtedly be some sadness that the existing cherry trees are being removed.

“Park users and passers-by have enjoyed their beautiful display of spring-time blossom for generations and so we haven’t taken this decision lightly. It is based on the very best advice with the safety of the public and the health of the specimens in the park at heart.

“We would like to assure park users that the blossoms will be replaced with similar trees alongside the improved pathway and will once again enhance the site for many years to come as part of the ongoing works to improve the park.”

There are signs on site explaining the works and offering diversions. The path will be closed until 6 December.

Notes to Editor:

  • The work is part of the £4.8m restoration project which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme and Nottingham City Council
  • The species of the existing trees, commonly known as Japanese Cherry Blossom, is recorded in City Council records as Prunus sargentii, which has pink blossom
  • The replacements will be ‘Prunus Shirofugen’ cherry trees, which will be about 14cm in stem circumference and 3.5m tall, and will also have a spreading crown with pink to white blossom. They are about the optimum size for continuing the visual impact and post-planting survival while the root system is developing.