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Tree Planting

Written by John James, posted on Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Thanks to very generous donations from the family and friends of Christopher Ainsley (one of the donors of the Jubilee Bridge) who died last year, we have had the opportunity to plant some new specimen trees around the Meadow. In total, we have planted eighteen trees, which included 3 Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), 2 Black or Water Oak (Quercus nigra), 2 Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), 2 River Birch (Betula nigra), 2 Japanese Zelkova or Keaki (Zelkova serrata), 5 Katsura Trees (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), 1 Italian Alder (Alnus cordata) and a Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) for the Cathedral Garden.

The majority of the trees have been planted along the approach to the Jubilee Bridge, but we have also added a small copse of trees at the northern end of Ansell’s Field to the south of the Visitor Centre and works compound.

Due to the size of the donation, we were able to buy trees of good size to make an instant impact, which is great. However, this meant that carrying out the planting was not an easy operation, so we had to bring in a contractor to dig the holes for us, unload the trees and position them in the holes. The three largest trees (Quercus palustris) weigh in at around 3.5 tonnes each and are around 10 metres tall.

The planting was planned to coincide with National Tree Week, an annual event which is timed to be at the best time of year to plant new trees as they will be dormant and less prone to stress from the operation. The soil still being relatively warm from the summer will encourage the trees to start rooting in quite quickly.

Planting the Tulip Tree to replace the previously felled Horse Chestnut was particularly challenging, as access is very restricted into the Cathedral Garden. Instead of using the telehandler, we had to squeeze the tree in (using one of our own small tractors) past the various bits of building work and then lift the tree round and into the hole using the digger in at least three different locations to reach its final location.

It is very satisfying to have completed such an important project and we are really looking forward to seeing the trees settle in and grow away in the spring.

The trees have all been registered with the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme to mark her Platinum Jubilee.