Richmond Council is undertaking essential conservation works to protect local native black poplar trees. Richmond upon Thames has one of the most important populations of native black poplar in the country.

The native black poplar is a rare and endangered tree with only an estimated 7,000 trees remaining in the entire United Kingdom. Richmond upon Thames is fortunate to be home to over 70 specimens of the tree which includes 44 mature trees that are of national importance due to their unique genetic identity.

Following careful consideration and planning, Richmond Council has commenced conservation works to ensure the future health and prosperity of the native black poplar trees.

By working with conservation specialist, Jamie Simpson of Trees & Woodlands, Richmond Council has agreed a plan for specialised ‘halo clearance’ works to ensure the future of the trees by reducing the negative impacts of competing plants.

These works began on Monday, 18 October 2021 and are likely to last for three weeks.

To accompany this conservation work, up to 60 new native black poplars will be planted during the coming planting season. This will involve the planting of saplings which have been propagated from rare and unique trees within the borough.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee, said:

‘As a Council we are committed to a conservation effort to safeguard the unique and rare species of native black poplar in the borough. Our borough is lucky to be home to so many mature trees of national importance.

‘While on first sighting these works may appear to be destructive, we want to re-assure residents that this management and conservation work is a crucial step in a long-term conservation effort of this rare variety of tree. These conservation works are essential in protecting our local biosphere and mitigating against the effects of climate change.’

– from a Richmond Council press release - 21 October 2021