Category Archives: Windthrow

The fall of Britain’s second-biggest-girthed sessile oak


Thursday last week I heard from my father that a great oak had blown down overnight near Wrexham. From the internet I learned it was the Pontfadog Oak that had fallen – Britain’s second-biggest-girthed sessile oak (Quercus petraea). After doing a bit of research and discovering two other named oaks nearby (a story for another day), I decided to pay my respects and get some photographs of the fallen champion. So on Saturday morning I jumped in the car and drove the 100 miles to Wales – hey, if Yorkshire’s greatest lapsed treeblogger can’t do that, then who can?


I was in for a shock when I saw both the underside of the tree and the soil on which had it stood for centuries. Where were all the roots? For all intents and purposes, there was nothing at all to anchor it to the ground. The biggest roots there, which were really nothing, were completely rotten. There were a couple of small straggly roots that were live wood, but had that really managed to sustain the whole tree?


The march of the mother trees

Pip at European Trees paints a compelling picture of the slow eastward drift of traditionally managed woodlands in France.

If we had access to satellite imagery from the last two centuries would we be able to create time lapse aerial photos of a woodland canopy showing the Mother trees as a front, semi circular waves marching eastwards similar to the pattern seen at the front of lapping waves on a shallow beach?

Read the rest of the post to learn just what the heck he’s talking about here.

Death by lawn

Barbara Eisenstein at Wild Suburbia blog asks whether humans were partly to blame for the large number of trees felled by high winds in California last week.

I jog daily at Garfield Park and I can say with certainty the park is maintained to protect the grass, not the trees. The grass extends right under these beautiful oaks and is watered year around. The soil is usually soggy. The trees look okay … except when they don’t. Over the years the oaks have been disappearing. Some fall, some die standing. Looking at the roots of the newly fallen, one is struck by how small they seem.

Read the rest.

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