Tree in Trouble

From the Kent Messenger

It has stood in the heart of Rochester for more than a century, but today tree surgeons were busy cutting back branches after the iconic Catalpa tree split in half.

The American Indian bean tree, which stands between the cathedral and the castle is believed to be the oldest of its kind in England.

People passing by the 150-year-old tree this morning, would have seen that half the tree closest to the cathedral had fallen over and was blocking the pathway.

Report From Susan Haydock

The split has affected the side not propped, so yes, I took my eye off the ball worrying about railings and propagation when we should have been pushing for propping and/or bracing.  I have learned that the vergers have taken cuttings and they are growing. Railings alone would not have prevented what has happened.  No treatment is planned for the split, probably caused by water sitting in the gap.  The holly should come out as its roots may add to outward pressure on the trunk.

The outer branches over the road have been trimmed back to clear the road.  The contractors will be back tomorrow 8 a.m. to take off about 30% over the crown.  This means the tree will not look very pretty for a while, but in the long term will probably help by taking off a load of weight while propping and bracing are organised.

So, all is not lost.  The event may even be considered a blessing in disguise as the work we have been pressing for for some time is now being done.