19 NOVEMBER 1954, Page 24

PRUNING MR. BETJEMAN Sta,—Mr. John Betjeman is amusing about '

amenities' but ill-informed when it comes to pruning—or ' prunus-ing.'

The local councils who cause their road- side trees to be so grotesquely mutilated pro- vide, in addition to the trees, expensive street lighting. They like to get something approach- ing their money's worth, but cannot if the lamps are shrouded in leaves. The same councils also provide expenstv4 double-decker buses, and dislike having thet paint removed and windows smashed by over. hanging branches.

The trouble began when the resell councils' distant predecessors planted tree. that develop to inconvenient proportions. if we are still to have trees—and many of us like to, notwithstanding Mr. Betjeman—the solUA Lion for the future would be to plant trees with less expansionist characteristics. I ar4 no arboriculkurist, and do not know what species would be most suitable for thif purpose, but I suspect that they might 14 the kinds that would bear blossom, whic some town halls would consider frivolousl$, gay, and even, with luck, fruit.

If that were to happen there would bit grave danger that it would be picked b ' unauthorised persons,' a prospect calculate to arouse grave apprehension in -ofli breasts.—Yours faithfully,