Experts in tree collection management will meet in Dunkeld on Monday 9 January to put together a ‘rescue plan’ for the iconic ‘Cathedral grove’.
Sited on the Dunkeld House Estate and just to the west of the Cathedral, the two acre grove of trees was badly hit during the storms of 8/9 December, losing many of its veteran trees.
The biggest casualty was a huge Colorado white fir which was brought down, the UK champion Douglas fir situated nearby only just escaped with its life.  A large section of a multi-stemmed silver-fir came crashing down destroying a section of the fence that separates the grounds of Dunkeld Cathedral with the Dunkeld House Estate. 
Other casualties include an old larch tree, and one of the largest specimens of the Japanese Hiba known in Perthshire.  Ten tree specimens planted on the site as part of the iCONic project were unscathed.

Action Plan
Now an action plan needs to be drawn up to salvage and restore this nationally significant site, which is important both to the iCONic project and to the developing National Tree Collections of Scotland.
Tom Christian, project officer for the National Tree Collections of Scotland, said: “It is horrendous. The grove contains some staggering examples of mature specimen trees including several heritage and champion trees. Several trees have been blown over completely and others lost tops, which did considerable damage to many neighbouring trees on their way down. 
“The result is that the grove is now covered in debris, many standing trees are no longer worth keeping, and significant safety concerns have arisen in some of the damaged trees.”

Collaboration
He added: “Given the national significance of this iconic site, and the new collaboration between the Dunkeld Hilton and the National Tree Collections of Scotland, it is vital that we do what we can to rescue Cathedral grove, clean up the significant debris, address new safety concerns and re-plant a new generation of trees to replace those that have been lost.”
Partners from the National Tree Collections of Scotland – including Forestry Commission Scotland and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – will meet with managers at the (Hilton) Dunkeld House Hotel to consider how best to plan and fund the necessary work.
For further information visit www.ntcs.org.uk and www.iconictrees.org

 

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