Work to protect the row of landmark poplar trees in a Reading field began on Monday.

Reading Borough Council will trim the healthy trees in Christchurch Meadows down to 15m and the decaying ones to 5m to spur regrowth.

At a current height of 18-22m, the 40-year-old trees along George Street are prone to snapping.

Reading’s councillor for recreation Karen Rowland said: “I’m heartened that we continue to monitor and care for this line of Lombardy Poplars, along the edge of our much-loved Christchurch Meadows.

“The stand of trees form a striking and much-loved landmark for views from within Reading and all along the Thames."

In 2014, the council planted 34 new poplars to succeed those that were coming to the end of their natural lifespan and ensure the meadow’s wind shield continues unabated.

“The really good news is that of the new poplars we planted seven years ago, the majority are thriving and will hopefully soon take over as the dominant trees in this area, should the older poplars fail,” said Cllr Rowland.

The entire row was reduced to a similar height previously and the Council intends to repeat the process every three to five years.

Cllr Rowland said the council aims for 3,000 new trees by 2030, as well as increasing the proportion of land in Reading which is covered by tree canopy to 25 per cent.