Crowning some of the National Park's ancient trees

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 2 November 2005

2 November 2005

Crowning some of the National Park's ancient trees

Some of the Peak District National Park's most venerable trees have suddenly sprouted tops like Bart Simpson's haircut.

The zig-zag "coronets" are being tested by National Park tree specialists on big trees in potentially hazardous locations, to keep them safe and healthy by removing dangerous branches and encouraging new growth.

Motorists may have spotted some examples on two huge, old beeches alongside the A6 between Ashford-in-the-Water and Bakewell.

National Park forestry and tree manager Steve Tompkins explained: "Crowning trees, with coronet cuts, as they are called, is a new idea developed by the Ancient Tree Forum. By cutting a crown shape on the end of a limb that has to be removed, the length of the edge of the cut bark is greatly increased.

"The theory is that the longer edge of bark creates more sites for new buds to sprout and for the tree to make new growth. This increases the chances of the tree remaining alive, or dying more slowly, and benefiting the multitude of birds, insects, and fungi that depend on the tree for their own lives.

"The tree is also made safe by the removal of large branches that could fall across a road or property."

The National Park's tree experts will be watching closely to see how well it works.

But, Steve pointed out: "Nature is still the best way of looking after trees, and veteran trees that do not pose a safety risk are best allowed to live out their natural lives. Where trees are safe in the middle of a field, or part of a larger woodland with limited public access, then we recommend that they are left alone."

"We also do not think that drastic tree surgery is the best course of action for all big, old trees. The results can look unnatural, and sometimes it is best to fell the tree completely and plant a new one for the future."

This is an archived press release

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