COUNCIL TREE officers are striving to save an ancient mulberry tree in Caversham Court Gardens. The tree, which is believed to be over 300 years old, collapsed over the weekend.
The collapse was due to a combination of the unusually wet summer weather making the tree’s leaves particularly large and heavy this year, the tree leaning excessively to the south and a rotting core (common in ancient mulberry trees).
In an attempt to save it, council tree experts have taken off a proportion of the canopy, leaving the limbs propped up. The tree has also been temporarily fenced off to prevent anyone from climbing on it and causing further damage. This will allow officers to monitor the tree without interference and prevent any accidents.
It is hoped that some of the tree will survive, even if other sections are deprived of nutrients and die off. The tree’s limbs need time to settle under their own weight and the tree needs time to develop coping mechanisms following this major shock.
The temporary security fence will be in place around the tree for the next couple of months to deter public access during the rest of the growing season. The tree will be monitored by officers and the fencing will be reviewed in the autumn.
Cllr Paul Gittings, Lead Member for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, said:
“Whilst we apologise for the appearance of the security fence, it is necessary to protect the tree and help keep it alive. It would be a real shame to lose this beautiful old mulberry that has graced Caversham Court Gardens for the last 300 years. Officers are doing all they can to return it to health for future generations to admire.”