The Tree Register Latest News
Dawn Redwood tops 30m at Savill Garden
Looking splendid in the late afternoon winter sunshine, the tip of the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) in the Savill Garden, Windsor, is now 30.6m above ground level. Many thanks to Mark Flanagan, Keeper of the Gardens, who opened a private gate to allow the Tree Register a better sightline and from where the photo (right) was taken. Currently this is the 4th tallest Dawn Redood in Britain and Ireland but there are several trees with the potential to have reached 30m if re-measured. The champion tallest for many years at Leonardslee Gardens, Horsham in West Sussex, appears to have slowed up due to exposure and now adding very little height. The tallest is currently 32m growing in Wayford Woods, Crewkerne, Somerset.
Check out your county champion Dawn Redwood on the champion tree database
NEW Champion Horse Chestnut at Hughendon Manor
Reported by National Trust Ranger Steve Kirkpatrick, this Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) measures 7.33m at 1.1m. The low branching makes it a category B champion but also the biggest in Europe!
Measuring the tree by Steve Kirkpatrick and David Alderman (Tree Register)
Photo by Roel Jacobs of the Belgium Dendrological Society.
Registrar Owen Johnson reports on our achievements in 2014
6800 sets of measurements have been added to the Tree Register so far in 2014. Some of these are updates of old warriors, such as the magnificent Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) in the private garden of the Old Rectory at Much Hadham in Hertfordshire which was planted in 1820 and now has a girth of 693cm. But many continue to be new discoveries: 566 of this year’s tally of UK and Ireland ‘champion trees’ are specimens which had been measured before, often long before, but 346 are brand-new. Chris Watts has located new champions for Grey Alder (Alnus incana) and Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) during the restoration of the old arboretum in Leigh Woods outside Bristol, while Rob Lynley confirms as the tallest a 27-metre White Walnut (Juglans regia) in a field next to Skelton on Ure church in North Yorkshire. And with the now general use of laser range-finders to calculate the heights, I no longer have to worry as Registrar about how precise the new data may be.
Meanwhile I have made several trips this summer to the Jurassic limestone hills – good deep tree-growing soils - which traverse middle England from Somerset to Northamptonshire. Champion trees generally cluster in Britain’s geographical extremes, where the climate more closely matches the un-British regime they’re used to in the wild, but conveniently centrally-located collections such as the Westonbirt and Batsford Arboreta or the Oxford Botanic Garden can of course boast hundreds of their own. Many of these extraordinary trees are also in perfectly ‘ordinary’ places, such as this beautiful new champion Blue Pencil Cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Glauca’) in the middle of Wellingborough’s Swanspool Gardens.
Swanspool Gardens Juniperus virginiana 'Glauca'
(Photo top right by Owen Johnson )
New Champions at Westonbirt
170 new and updated National Champions at the Westonbirt Arboretum are now showing on the database in the Members' Section of this website. They included the Mexican Vejar Fir (Abies vejari) - a species only introduced to Britain in 1962 and planted in Silk Wood in 1965 but now 31m tall. This is the newest member of the '100 club' in Britain - trees which have surpassed 100 feet in height - and looks as if it will grow much taller.
If you visit Westonbirt, don't forget that the grounds of Westonbirt School, which was the Holfords' home, also open regularly and have champion trees of their own - including the Weeping Golden Holly (Ilex aquifolium 'Aurea Pendula'), a rare but beautiful form which may have originated here.
New Champions at Tregrehan
A recent visit to Tom Hudson's garden, Tregrehan, near St Austell in Cornwall, confirmed that this is now the finest private garden in Britain or Ireland for its range of recently-introduced tree species, may of which have grown so well that they are already big enough to count as champions. The garden also includes superb conifers planted by Tom's Victorian ancestors, including height champions for Totara (Podocarpus totara) and Tiger-tail Spruce (Picea torano.) Full details of the estates count of 175 national champion trees can now be studied in the Members' Section.
The picture shows Pinus bhutanica, from the introduction by Sinclair and Long in 1984 and already 20.5m tall!
Much of the garden at Tregrehan is open to the public through the spring months.
New champions springing up in 2014!
The mild spring has brought tree-hunters out of hibernation early and 107 Champion Trees for Britain and Ireland have already been updated or discovered for 2014. You can now explore all their details in the Members' Section of this website. The picture shows Sophora cassioides flowering in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden (on the right, with S. tetraptera from New Zealand on the left). The S. cassioides was collected in Chile, and this is the first time that it is known to have reached tree-size in Britain.
Highland Glen home of giants
Reelig Glen a Forestry Commission site near Inverness, is home to the new tallest tree in Britain and the tallest conifer in Europe. A Douglas Fir, growing near to a previous tallest tree called Dughall Mor, was measured by the Tree Register using laser rangefinders. A height of 66.4m was recorded making it the first conifer to be recorded pover 66m in Britain and Europe.
As reported in The Scotsman and other Scottish newspapers. More details in Newsletter No.22 available online in the Members Area.
This news updates the previous headline "New Tallest Tree" report from 14th September 2013