Ancient, veteran and notable trees in Kingston

In my spare time, I go to a list of important trees that I keep  in my notebook, and upload their details (a short description, grid reference and a photograph) onto the website of the Woodland Trust.  I  find them walking around the borough, they are usually trees of more than '3 hugs'. The WT depends on volunteers to submit information about important trees but there is someone who will come and validate the record in the 'fullness of time'.

Interestingly, someone has already uploaded  veteran and notable trees in the south of the borough, although the largest willows that grew along the Hogsmill near the A240  were felled last year and would have had girths of >4 hugs (the remaining trees are 4.66 and 4.45m). There are ancient ash trees on Tolworth Court Farm Fields,  altogether a different classification.

Ancient trees are further defined by their age as being > 400 years and our nearest most splendid examples are found on Ashtead Common. The Ancient Tree Forum  ATF is the main UK organisation concerned solely with ancient trees seeking to secure the long-term future of them through advocacy of no further avoidable loss, good management and the development of a succession of future ancient trees and thankfully there is now a London branch of this organisation.

Veteran trees are those in their second stage of life and hollowing even though they could be only 150 years old. They exhibit, decay, broken branches, flaking bark and are excellent for all wildlife including invertebrates and of course bats. Notable trees are those with veteran features and will be the next generation of veteran trees.

Most of these have a girth of 4.6m

Kingston cemetery has several veteran and notable trees and hopefully most of them are now uploaded onto the WT's website. This includes a line of oaks by the orange pillars dividing the cemetery. I used to call these the chaffinch trees, although there are rarely any chaffinches in the cemetery these days.

We noted the limb tear-out's and splits; the loose and lost bark, the cinnamon coloured Ganoderma's and the knopper galls from developing andrena wasp's all features important for creating niches and food for bats. The knopper Gall is caused by a tiny gall wasp, Andricus quercuscalicis. It produces ridged outgrowths on the acorns of our native pedunculate oak; forming in August they are sticky and red, later becoming woody and brown. 
A second generation then develops in the catkins of Turkey Oak.The deodar's are notable trees and are popular with the coal tits and goldcrest's in the cemetery. One multi-stemmed tree had a gurth of 5m. The ash has many veteran features such as woodpecker holes and bracket fungus.

Ash with woodpecker holes
This plane tree along Chapel Mill Road has the largest girth of any trees in my district - a full 5.7m. Not good then to find the spoil of these roadworks dumped on its root plate. But good to know that this is contrary to British Standards-specifically BS5837, which gives guidance about the root protection zone of a tree. You may find this a handy reference.

If you have any notable or veteran or even ancient trees in your district lets get them loaded onto the WT website. Checkout Paul Wood and Steve Pocock which uses the GLA's tree database to inform on the street trees in  your district Unfortunately non of the borough street trees are marked only those up to the boundary.


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