Tree-mendous times at Stowe
Area Ranger Ian Goode gives an insight into the wonderful variety of trees we look after at Stowe, and how we care for them.
Before I explain the way we manage the trees at Stowe it is worth noting the importance of tree safety. If we are concerned about the safety of a tree we will sometimes take the decision to remove deadwood, fell a tree, or remove the ivy. This decision will be taken by our Head Gardener, Barry, our Assistant Head Gardeners Paul and Patrick, or myself, Ian, Area Ranger, who have attended specific four day training courses in managing tree risk. If you are concerned about tree safety, please consult a professional before doing anything, as you could risk damaging the tree or making more unsafe.
Designing a landscape
Trees are an important feature in any garden, but are especially important in landscape gardens. The great garden designers used both existing trees in the landscape and planted new trees to create atmosphere, frame views, create avenues, and to plot the contour of the landscape.
Why has the tree got ivy on it?
Sometimes it's easy to see ivy growing on trees and pull out your pruning saw ready to cut it off - but hang on! It might have been allowed to grow for a reason.
Ancient and veteran trees
What is the difference between an ancient and veteran tree? An ancient tree has passed its mature phase of growth in comparison with other trees of the same species. So an ancient hawthorn would be a different age to an ancient oak.
This oak has begun a process called crown retrenchment. Oak trees produce strong wood resulting in the dead wood being retained in the tree. This can sometimes be referred to as 'stag-horning'. In certain areas of the parkland where visitor use is very low we leave the deadwood in the trees as it provides habitat for invertebrates.
Some trees at Stowe need further protection from compaction around the base, so we might choose to exclude people from under the tree for their own safety by enclosing it in cleft oak fencing.
I hope this has given you an insight into some of the work we do to care for our trees at Stowe. We often have gardeners working during our opening hours, so do stop us for a chat if you have any questions.