Heritage trees in Walpole Park
Heritage Trees in Walpole Park
As part of the Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project in Walpole Park, the works and studies relating to the trees are described below.
As many will be aware, advance works were carried out to the two large cedar of Lebanon and lime trees behind Pitzhanger Manor in the park. This work ensured the short term safety and helped to prolong the life of these trees. However, the works were only one part of the measures required to promote a longer and healthier life for these trees.
Current studies and investigations
HLF have provided funding to ensure that the necessary investigations and works to the trees can be carried out to ensure their safety and longevity if possible.
At the moment arboricultural specialists are inspecting the trees and carrying out:
- Soil tests – these will assess the health of the soil, particularly soil chemistry, electrolytic conductivity and soil biology which includes assessment of mycorrhizal activity as well as analysis of fungal, bacterial, nematode and protozoan ratios. This will inform future soil treatments to optimise root function to improve growth conditions.
- Ultrasound tests – Picus tomographs to assess the current extent and significance of decay in the lower stems of both cedar trees, to inform the management of the trees.
- Static load tests – to assess the breaking resistance of the trunk and tipping resistance of roots.
These tests will then inform the future treatment of these trees.
Earlier this year, these trees were propagated by the National Trust. The lime grafts are doing well and a few of the cedar grafts have taken, but not as many as hoped for, so more of these will be grafted later this year. The intention is for these grafts, grown from the existing heritage tree stock, to be planted in the park in the future when they are large enough.
Long term tree strategy for the whole park
The works and assessment of the cedars and limes is only a small part of the strategy for the whole park. As some will have noticed a large limb fell from the gingko tree in the walled garden, followed by a lightning strike, emphasising that any future strategy needs to be responsive and proactive.
In the coming months a strategy for the whole park will be developed with arboricultural experts. The strategy will be assessed in light of the proposed small changes to the park layout, the restoration of some heritage views and planting designs, emerging threats to tree health and the constraints imposed by tree health, a warming climate and uses of the park. The general presumption is to preserve the existing mature tree stock where possible and to introduce new tree planting as part of a longer term strategy to succeed the existing trees in the future.
In autumn 2013 construction works began in the park. This involves the first phased capital works, some of which are intended to prolong the life of the trees in the long term. These works will include the redesign of areas around tree bases to allow a healthier growing condition and reduce compaction on tree roots.
Pages in Walpole Park and Pitzhanger Manor
- Project updates
- The vision
- Overall project aims for Walpole Park
- Pitzhanger Manor Trust
- Upcoming events
- Getting involved
- Park history
- You are here: Heritage trees in Walpole Park
- Archaeology survey in Walpole Park
- Kitchen Garden
- Art in the Park
- Horticultural apprentice
- Walpole Memories Oral History Project