Nick Dunn from Frank P Matthews helps save Royal Oak

A gardener from English Heritage has collected the DNA from the famous Royal Oak at Boscobel House in Shropshire with the help of master propagator, Nick Dunn.

Nick Dunn
Nick Dunn

Using a mobile platform, lifted up to the highest parts of the tree, Dunn collected young healthy shoots to propagate by grafting. The oaks from this DNA material will then be grown on and planted in the field surrounding the existing 'Royal Oak' to create a new woodland which, after a few years, will be 'pollarded'. English Heritage will begin replanting next autumn as part of a wider plan to recreate the woodland that once surrounded the ancient tree and restore the gardens at Boscobel.

Famous for being the hiding place of King Charles II after defeat at the last battle of the English Civil War in 1651, the 'Royal Oak' is the origin of the name of many UK pubs so named after the famous tree. The tree has been replicated just once before in the form of the 'Victoria Oak' planted in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

This task is just a few of the 'tree rescue' and special propagation projects that Frank P Matthews are getting involved with using their new propagation facility to engage in more specialist grafting and growing ventures.

Dunn said: "Our specialist propagation skills naturally lend themselves to interesting projects such as these and we are keen to help preserve important varieties for the future. Recent investment in our propagation facilities will help support these projects and our continually expanding nursery production."

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