The Tree Register Latest News
The Wentworth Elm is Rediscovered
Two elegant weeping elms in the Palace garden of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh have been confirmed by elm experts Peter Bourne and Ronnie Nijboer as Ulmus x hollandica 'Wentworthii', which like so many kinds of elm had been feared extinct after the known tree in the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden was lost to Elm Disease in the 1990s. Thanks to Edinburgh's disease control policy, the Palace trees, which are probably about a hundred years old, remain in perfect health.
How Many Kinds of Tree are there?
Q. How many different kinds of tree can be found growing in Britain and Ireland?
A. Nobody knows!
However, join the Tree Register and you will instantly be as close to answering this question as anybody can. The interactive online database in the Members' section of this site now contains definitive information on 5,437 different forms of plant which can grow to tree-size and where established specimens have been found in Britain or Ireland - nearly all of them in the last ten years. (About 2450 of these taxa are generally recognised as good species, 830 are generally treated as subspecies, varieties, Groups or hybrids, and the remaining 2160 or so are cultivars or clones - either plants which are labelled or of known origin, or else distinctive enough to be recognisable in the field.)
With new trees continuing to be discovered and named, and brought to Britain and Ireland by enterprising plant-hunters and gardeners, these totals are going to continue rising, and the Tree Register will remain the site to visit for the latest information on their hardiness, growth-rates and where they are cultivated.
The picture shows Hagenia abyssinica, from the Ethiopian Highlands, thriving as a young tree in 2014 at Tregrehan, Cornwall.
Street-wise in Chelsea
Street trees need to be able to cope with the dry, compacted soil under pavements and to be neatly and reliably shaped, and it is understandable that most Local Authorities restrict their plantings to just a few tried and tested varieties, whose ubiquitous repetition does nothing to add interest and variety to the local scene.
One exhilarating exception is in Chelsea and Belgravia, where experiments are ongoing. Some of these (Arbutus x andrachnoides; Ziziphus jujube; Olea europaea) have turned out to be expensive failures in the local conditions; others have been spectacularly successful.
Foremost among these is the Melia azederach (Bead Tree; pictured) which was planted in front of 1, St Leonards Terrace in 2001 and has flourished like no others in Britain to become a graceful tree 13m tall with a trunk 37cm thick this summer. Mauve flowers in May are followed by yellow beads that used to be threaded as rosaries.
Nearby, Britain's tallest Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. aspleniifolius, from Catalina Island off the coast of southern California, planted around the same time in front of 7 Wilbraham Place (opposite the back of the Cadogan Hall) is now 11.5m tall. Next to it, a recently-planted X Chitalpa tashkentensis is also making a shapely little tree. Other noteworthy species include Alnus x spaethii (along King's Road by the Old Church Street junction) and Clerodendrum trichotomum (outside 27, Glebe Place). I'm sure that further exploration would reveal still more.
And while you're in Chelsea, don't omit to visit the Physic Garden which surely has the densest concentration of (small, but very rare) champion trees anywhere in Britain: 18 within its 1.4 hectares, as of last week.
Co. Wicklow produces its third tall tree over 60m
Within a small group of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) planted c.1930 at Glendalough in the Wicklow National Park, this tree is 61m and the second tallest tree in Ireland. The tallest trees in Ireland have so far all been Dougals Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) also in Wicklow.
Measured by laser the Glendalough group includes other Sitka of 58,5m making these the tallest Sitka in Ireland too.
Estimating the Age of Ancient Oaks by T H Moller
An established method for estimating the age of large and veteran trees is reviewed in the context of historic girth measurements of specimen oaks spanning up to 231 years. Such data is used to recalibrate the earlier model and to generate an improved scheme for predicting the probable age of ancient oaks from single traditional measurements of girth.
For Members - download and read Tosh Moller's research note in full on our Members Latest News page.
Photo:The Panshanger Oak with a predicted age of 526 using a calibrated growth curve
Champion Redwoods at Longleat
The woods of the Longleat estate, which have long been managed as 'continuous cover' forestry, now have the tallest examples found in Europe for both of the Californian 'redwoods': Sequoiadendron giganteum from the Sierra Nevada is 58m tall in the Redwood Grove at Center Parcs, and Sequoia sempervirens from coastal forests is 57m (but currently growing faster) in Buckler's Wood above Warminster, an area open for the public to walk through.
New Welsh Champions
A recent visit to north Wales has located 85 new champion trees, including this Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans' (with plant-hunter John Whitehead for scale) at Portmeirion. Often planted in front gardens as a 'dwarf conifer', this one now has a trunk 135cm thick. Britain (and northern Europe's) tallest trees, in a Forestry Commission plantation at Coed Craig Glanconwy in the Conwy Valley, have reached 68m, and are still growing as fast as ever. Full details of all the new finds can be explored by interrogating the online database within the Members' Section.
The Tree Register Alan Mitchell Lecture 2016
Latest Newsletter is out now!
Newsletter No.24 has been posted to all members. If you have not received your copy contact us today!
ARBORETUM - New Book by Owen Johnson is available soon
ARBORETUM The history of the trees of Britain and Ireland - in this ground-breaking book, the renowned tree expert and author Dr Owen Johnson reveals how generations of adventurous gardeners have transformed Britain and Ireland into one gigantic arboretum: a collection of specimen trees gathered from around the world.
Meticulously researched yet richly descriptive, Arboretum is essential reading for anyone sudying garden history, maintaining a historic landscape, or choosing a tree to plant. It is also the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about these largest and most conspicuous yet often-overlo9oked features of our everyday environment.
Successive chapters reveal the use of native trees and their colourful sports in garden design, the story of gardening with exotic trees as it has unfolded over the last five centuries, and the ongoing role of botanic gardens in the conservation of tree species endangered in the wild.
Owen Johnson, Registrar of The Tree Register, has spent 35 tyears reseraching and recording rare and remarkable trees in every corner of Britain. This definitive study is p-acked with quirky, personal observations and intriguing tales.
Arboretum is both acelebration of Britin and Ireland's extraordinary tree heritage and a passionate plea for this unique legacy to be appreciated and safeguarded in the way it deserves.
This beautiful cased book will make an excellent Christmas present for anyone interested in our trees and countryside. The 480 pages are lavishly illustrated with 500 colour photographs taken personally by Dr. Johnson.
Published price £40 visit www.booksystemsplus.com
Special offer to Members of The Tree Register: 25% discount + free p&p (in the UK)
Members please login and go to the Latest News page in the Members Area of our website to get your special voucher code to order for £30 per copy including UK delivery.
To see the first 30 pages from the book click on the pdf below