Thursday, 3 March 2011

'the dickens oak'

Here is the oldest tree on our site. When Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust visited us a few weeks ago they estimated its age as being between 150 and 200 years old. Its bark is badly damaged on one side and a branch has fallen to the ground and rooted into the soil creating this unusual arch. The line of our new boundary fence passes immediately underneath the arch. I am pleased that neighbour Vicky agreed that we could annex the tree into our site by taking our fence around the tree. Sawing away the arching branch would have seriously threatened the stability of the old landmark and was never considered.

The stress that the tree has seen may be the reason why so many small oak seedlings are springing up. I understand that plants flower and seed especially well when they are stressed and need to produce offspring to continue their family line.

The new fence has created a natural perimeter walk and so we now walk beneath the tree on each circuit.
I think of the tree as the 'Dickens Oak' because it was an acorn when our great English writer was alive. We celebrate his 200th birthday in 2012.
It makes me think of the relative lives of trees and humans and how insignificant our span is when compared with that of our great trees.
Jill reminded me the other day of the saying that an oak 'grows for 300 years, lives for 300 years and dies for 300 years'.
The Dickens Oak is therefore still in its infancy, with the possibility of still being here in 700 years time.
We'll certainly do all we can to make sure the tree continues to thrive during our short tenure.

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