Freak conditions cause tree damage at estate

Snow conditions and a late autumn season have devastated a tree collection at at National Trust property.

The recent severe snow conditions in the South West combined with a late autumn season to devastate the tree collection at a National Trust (NT) property in Cornwall. Staff at NT Lanhydrock, Bodmin, estimate that hundreds of trees, mostly Quercus and Pseudotsuga, have been affected. Damage was contained to fallen limbs but it is the worst weather damage the estate has witnessed since trees were felled by storms in 1990.

Late leaves left on oaks, attributed to a dry October and possibly climate change, have been blamed for much of the damage. They trapped snow in the boughs of trees, the weight of which caused branches to fall at the 368ha site. Safety assessments have been carried out on the estate’s pathways but the trust estimates it will take a month to clear up the storm debris. NT area warden Matt Lewis said: This is the worst weather damage I have ever seen. In parts of the estate, it looks like a hurricane has hit. What made matters worse was our late autumn.

Leaves left on trees gathered a lot of snow, which caused the branches to give way. Lewis said he does not believe lasting damage has been done and the woodland is expected to recover over time. The Forestry Commission said the situation at Lanhydrock, while not uncommon in northern parts of the UK, was a geographical oddity for the South West.

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