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The strength and stability of trees The question of how an engineer might respond to a request to assess the prospective danger of a tree to a building with which he is concerned, raised in our issue for 19 November last, has called forth much comment. Sir Alfred Pugsley recalls his own interest in the fascinating topic of the structure of trees: Back in 1988 I contributed to The Structural Engineer (vol. 66, p322) a paper on ‘Limits to size set by trees’. I was mainly concerned with the elastic stability of the trunks as columns, and with an elastic limit to branch extension. But it shows that the limits are way beyond the practical extremes found in nature, which are governed by strength problems under wind forces. Verulam