As you walk from the Garden Entrance on your way to the Glasshouse at Wisley, you pass through an area called the Conifer Lawn. A magnificent Cedar of Lebanon is the first mature tree here. But sadly, it fell foul of the windy weather last Friday.
Nick Bell, team leader of the Wisley Arboricultural team reports:
“A large section of the Cedar of Lebanon on Wisley’s conifer lawn failed in the high winds on Friday morning. The point of failure was where a primary limb meets the trunk on the east side. The limb that failed was approx. 1/5th of the entire tree, so unfortunately a significant proportion of the crown has been lost.
"Cedar of Lebanon trees often fail in high winds or heavy snow fall as the dense foliage catches the wind and/or snow very easily.
“The limb that failed was lodged rather precariously in the crown so it needed to be dismantled very carefully by Wisley’s Arb team. A rope was tied around the base of the failed branch which went up to a pulley higher in the tree. This rope then went to the bottom of the tree where a friction device was installed. This allowed the branch to be secured so the climber, Tom (this year’s arboricultural trainee), was able to get closer enough to it to cut it into pieces with a chainsaw without the risk of the timber swinging towards him. Once all the smaller branches were removed, the long straight section of timber could be slowly lowered to the ground using the friction device and cut up into pieces so it could be loaded into a trailer. Some of the timber will be given to Wisley’s wood turner (who makes bowls and other items from Wisley wood) and will be sold in the Wisley shop.
“The tree will be carefully thinned by Wisley’s Arb team to allow future winds to pass through the crown without damaging it. Interestingly, this particular specimen was struck by lightning some years ago but is still in good health!”
If you have a tree you are concerned about, contact the Arboricultural Association at www.trees.org.uk who will recommend a qualified, insured arboricultural professional in your area.