They set fire on one of the best oaks in Europe!
I just got the news today from my friend Krzysztof Borkowski from Poland that Chrobry oak has set on fire:
I hope it will survive, but the pictures look very bad.
It is very sad news. The Chrobry oak is one of the most impressive oak trees in Europe. Why are people doing this!?
Indeed very sad and incredible that people do this. This is indeed one of the most impressive oaks I have ever visited.
I'm afraid I'm in despair with the human race!
The heat involved is likely to have cooked the sapwood and cambium layer, I am not hopeful it will survive. The Sherwood Oak in Nottinghamshire was also set on fire in the past, but it has survived.
Jeroen Pater and I visited this oak at a day in November 1999. At the same day we also visited the oak Napoleon in Zabor, somewhat more to the north-east, wich had a girth of even 10.45 m and was the biggest circumferenced oak of Poland at that time. It was also hollow and a few years later this oak also was set on fire. It survived, but the burning was repeated after a few years and the oak died.
The biggest girthed tree of the Netherlands, a hollow Sweet Chestnut (see Kastanjedal ) also was set on fire several times, the last time in 2005 and till now has survived.
So I hope Chrobry will stay alive as well.
die Eiche in Hornoldendorf (Außenmauer des Ritterguts) wurde vor zwei Jahren auch in Brand gesetzt. Letztes Jahr hat es noch so ausgesehen, als ob sie es wohl nicht überlebt. In diesem Jahr, als ich dort war, hat sich wieder recht viel grün gezeigt. Und zwar an Ästen, die noch 2013 kahl waren. Sie scheint sich also zu erholen. Vielleicht schafft es ja diese Eiche hier auch so wie die in Hornoldendorf. Hoffen wir also mal.
This may be a good reason not to publish record tree locations (though trees like the oak in question cannot be kept secret).
I don't think keeping trees a secret is a good idea. They give Chrobry a value of 4.300000 (I think) zlotty. That is a lot of money. If the Chrobry oak is that expensive, why did they not put smoke and heat detectors inside.
I think a better solution is to some how close the gabs of a hollow tree, so nothing that can burn can get in. It won't work with all hollow trees, but I think it will work with a lot of them. I think is is very hard to burn a tree that has a trunk with no gabs.
Yes Kouta I agree
Sadly keeping champion trees secret from the public is the only way to protect them from vandalism. But in this case the tree was so well known it was impossible. As I have said before, in the UK there are many rare plants, where location details are kept deliberately vague to ensure protection.
The recent climbing damage to the 66m Douglas fir in Scotland (not deliberate vandalism) I feel is a wake up call not to give exact location details for champion trees and giving the 'wider' general public this information is a risk to them. But recording and uploading them is perfectly acceptable on MT.
I hope those responsible are caught and prosecuted!
Lets hope the tree survives
Indeed this tree was to famous to hide it from the public. But, the other very big oak in Poland, called Napoleon at Zabor, was not well known, in fact it was a rather secret tree standing at a lonely place to be found only by insiders along a small sand road. It was set on fire very probable by local young boys and I suppose this also was the case with the Chrobry oak, like with the "Kabouterboom", the big Sweet Chestnut in Holland.
So I think most of these hollow old trees are more at risk from local young people than from people from elsewere.
Moreover, in Poland many big trees, especially oaks, were set on fire, not only the biggest. I have seen in 2014 a few oaks with girth ranging from 6,5 to 8 metres that also suffered an arson and they usually grew in remote places.. So the largest trees should be preserved rather by fence, because cameras could be stolen indeed.. And it is a matter of local government that trees are conserved or 'unwanted', like here, Chrześcijanin (the Christian) Oak in Poland: street
All in all, I hope that miracle will happen and Chrobry will survive, but it is horrible that someone wants to destroy peaceful monumental trees..
Hallo Leo en/of Jeroen.
Ik ben vandaag opnieuw langs geweest ij deze machtige platanen. Dat heb ik wel vaker gedaan, maar ik vond het steeds niet de moeite waard om ze te meten. Toen ik me realiseerde dat de laatste meting uit 2009 stamt, dacht ik dat ik deze bomen de eerste de beste keer dat ik in Amsterdam zou zijn, moest opmeten. Vandaag heb ik dat gedaan. Tot mijn spijt zijn de resultaten weer niet corresponderend met jullie eerdere metingen. De boom met de lage zijtak Ahornblättrige Platane (Platanus × hispanica) '1874'is volgens mijn metingen dunner dan de ander Ahornblättrige Platane (Platanus × hispanica) '1876'. Ik wil graag de juiste maten opvoeren. Kan het zijn dat jij/jullie destijds de metingen hebben verwisseld?
Ik heb een aantal oude foto's uit 2012 verwijderd. Ik denk dat het beeld daardoor helderder wordt met de nieuwe geüp
In juni 2006 waren Leo en ik met hoofdstedelijk bomenconsulent Hans Kaljee bij de bomen en hebben ze gemeten, zie de foto met mij. Die meting staat echter niet op MT. De meting uit 2009 is van Leo, ik was daar niet bij. Als jij nu een andere boom als dikste meet, kan het zijn dat Leo foto en meting heeft verwisseld maar ik maak vaker vreemde groeispurts mee bij bomen die moeilijk zijn te verklaren.
Heb je overigens je eigen foto's verwijderd?
Uiteraard heb ik alleen mijn eigen foto's verwijderd. Dank voor je opmerking over de groeispurt.
hallo Wim, ze zijn allebei gegroeid maar de een meer dan de ander, dat kan best hoor, bovendien zijn beide metingen niet op exact dezelfde plaats uitgevoerd, omdat er geen stippen op de stam staan.
Goed dat je ze gemeten hebt, dit levert op termijn veel groeigegevens van monumentale bomen op.
The site webpage link on the Elm conversation mentioned that Deodars could be 250 feet in their native habitat, surely there be some taller specimans than this somewhere in Europe, Germany, France (Sisley?) Would love to see some 50 metre specimans in Europe, likely?
I have just forgotten to update this tree, I measured it again in September (2014) and I could visibly see that the top was flatter, certainly when compared to my photos from 2013. I am pretty certain that it has lost it's top most branch, must have been in the severe winds of last winter as I couldn't get this height for it. Will look in my notes and update with new height which I just cannot recall exactly offhand.
I doubt if there are Deodars over 40 m in Europe, there seem to be no very old plantations of them.
In 1981 I have been in one of the locations with tall Deodar Cedars in the Indian Himalayas, in Manali. Probably those were taller than 40 m, but from my remembrance (I did not have any height measurement instrument at that time) I doubt if they were a lot above 50 m. Alas till now nobody seems to have measured them with reliable methods. Kouta and I once mailed that it would be nice to go there and to other locations in the Himalayas, but till now we did not make real plans.
Hello Jeroen, lets hope that there are some giant specimans hidden somewhere and yet to be found? Perhaps Sisley has the best chance of finding some in hidden gullies somewhere in central France.
I have updated the measurement for this one, now 37.8-38 metres MT standard, 37.6 to the high side Tree Register standard. Will have to check if this is now still the tallest in B&I?
Giant Elms in the UK. The Magdalen College Huntingdon Elm at Oxford
I thought this might be of interest while browsing through a very interesting book published online about UK trees early on in the 20th century.
I came across a photograph (I had known about this tree before) of perhaps one of the largest broadleaved trees ever recorded in the UK. It was measured on the ground 142feet x 28feet round in 1911.
I'm interested in giant Elms, especially Ulmus procera (was tallest UK tree before Pacific Coast conifers and Abies alba overtook them.
Scroll through the pages and look under elm.
Pictures of big elms are so scarce now and only if I was 40 years older and had the hindsight to photograph them before they all perished apart from a few! What have we lost?
The Huntingdon Elm was measured by the well known UK tree expert of his time Elwes, contained 2787 cubic feet of timber which is 98 cubic metres, so well over 100 tonnes. This may not include the upper crown though, so perhaps 120m3 in total. The tree must have been severely decayed though.
Has anyone else seen this old photograph before?
Also in 'The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland' you'll find mention of a Wych Elm near Field in Staffordshire which was felled in 1636 and carefully measured as 120' tall and 16' thick at the kerf. I think we can safely say that elms were our biggest native trees.
Those elms must have been great trees! I remember coming the first time in England and Wales in 1970 when I was 15, seeing everywere dead elms in the countryside. This has been a great loss for the British landscape.
Stephen and Owen: the Magdalen College Elm contained 2787 cubic feet of timber. You calculate this as 98 cubic metre. When a foot is 30.48 cm / 0.3048 metre than a cubic foot is 0,0283168466 cubic metre. Then 2787 cubic feet is 78,92 cubic metre. It could be that only good timber was calculated, not the smaller branches and the bark. The tree in total had perhaps more volume.
As you know Robert van Pelt calculated the large Sessile Oak of Croft Castle as having a total volume of 3800 cubic feet / 107.6 cubic metre and Majesty the Fredville Oak as 3300 cubic feet / 93.45 cubic metre, but these will both be the total volume of the tree including bark, all branches and (especially for Majesty) including the hollow trunk. So this is not existing volume of timber but the volume of the tree as a whole.
Probably measured in this way the Magdalen College Elm also would have had a volume of over 3000 or more cubic feet.
Would be nice to have a guy like Robert van Pelt to estimate volumes of some more British and European trees.
Yes I totally agree. Although tree sizes may have been over estimated back then.
There appears to be very few photographs of big elms on the internet, which is sad. If only I was alive before 1970 with a camera!
Yes you are right, I entered in the conversion factor wrongly.
It could be that the old method of measurement was used, the Hoppus foot. There is 0.03605m3 to the Hoppus foot. This is still used in the UK for measuring hardwoods, sadly and not metric.
Yes a tragedy, the loss of Ulmus procera. I remember being in my pram at 2 years, sadly watching big elms being felled in 1975 in my village and ever since been addicted to trees!
Another tree not native to the UK and yet somehow some people accept these trees in the landscape and not other species such as conifers which I find rather stupid!
There are some old pictures of elms being felled which surely were as big as the biggest plane trees of today.
In September I visited the Croft Castle Sessile Oak. I remember standing beneath this tree in 1984.
I did an extensive study into the trees health/age. Sadly the National Trust has expanded the car park since 1984 allowing car parking in close proximity to the tree's root zone, which puts the tree's health at risk due to soil compaction. I have spent most of my career trying to educate people about this kind of thing, but sadly some people are ignorant.
The tree is generally in good health at present but it has extensive internal decay in the heartwood and is structurally compromised, thus at some future date perhaps in 50 years time it may fall. Nearly all oaks of this age (300 years) I have seen, have decay and have witnessed them snapping off at the base. Perhaps the only way to prevent this would be to reduce the upper crown, but this would be sad and perhaps letting nature take its course would be best, as surely we have to accept the tree has done wonderfully.
Presume B.V. Pelt just measured the trunk and main branches. If upper crown included it could perhaps amass more than 120m3? This would amount to 128 tonnes as there are 0.94m3 to the metric tonne for Oak which is fresh and green. But of course impossible to measure weight accurately if the tree has decay.
I will upload pictures and report for MT in due course.
Has anyone in Europe tried to estimate volume using Laser Technology's Criterion RD 1000 dendrometer? Perhaps some of the UK's conifers could be measured to estimate volume this way. Although climbing and measuring diameter at certain heights would be more accurate?
2 years old, that takes some beating Stephen! 2 years old in 1975, I was curious as to how old you were and this as given it away. Not my long list twin then. Don't think that I can remember as far back as that, remember how my interested first sparked, all the kids in my Primary school class were given an Oak sapling to look after. It was my second year in Primary so 1975 coincidently again. I cannot remember what happened to my little Oak? Hope that it was planted somewhere and is growing strong now. My interest was further engaged when my late Dad and myself began searching for a grove of very tall trees that he had seen but which he could not remember the location of. We drove right to within a few hundred metres of them from both directions but couldn't find them and turned back. Took us many outings and we finally dropped down over the edge of the ravine and found the redwoods at Hebden Wood. The trees were very, very tall to a little kid.
I seem to remember discussing this with someone before and realising that Elwes and Henry were using Hoppus feet whenever they wrote 'feet of timber'. I believe that Bob van Pelt will have recorded even the minor branches of the Croft Castle oak with some precision, as that is what he does when surveying the giant American trees. But our big, young conifers are easier to measure as they only have light branches so far.
Morning Rob and Owen
You too Rob have a nice childhood story to tell.
If Elm disease had not happened perhaps my interest in trees would have never occurred! That day in December 1975 obviously had left an imprint on my brain! One of my earliest memories was 100ft elms being felled across the main road into the pub car park whole, falling with an almighty bang (no health and safety then) There were 200 of them lining the road! The whole of the Vale of Oxford was full of them and a guy who I worked for said he spent years constantly felling dead Elms.
There was an interest in genetic engineering Ulmus procera inserting a gene to make it resistant, but there are 'anti's' that do not like this, so project halted! Trouble is there are about 2 clones of Ulmus procera so when the disease struck there was no resistance. Whereas Ulmus hollandica 'vegeta' (Huntingdon Elm) does have some resistance.
The bookmark for the online book shows some interesting trees of the past, nice beech etc.
The Huntingdon Elm at Silk wood Westonburt has now sadly died.
Measuring the upper crown must be a very complicated task for an oak. Has the Tree Register considered measuring girths at different heights to determine volume for some of the big conifers like the Grand Fir at Strone or Murthly etc. when doing tape drops?
Interesting site and pictures of Elms still alive in Kent
This is what we have lost, so sad wish I had been there. What a beauty! R.I.P. Ulmus procera
Best picture on the net I have seen.
Hello Stephen, are there any large Elms of any type left in your territory? Up here there are very few although quite alot of shrubby specimans forming parts of hedges. The tallest that I have recorded is a 27.8-28 metre speciman at Ribston Hall. Cannot remember if I have added this to MT or not, will have to a check? I don't like adding just any tree as it wastes webspace for Tim but this one is worth adding probably because it is a County Champion for Yorkshire.
Hi Stephen, Owen and Rob,
There is some hope that there will be still elms in the UK as well as other parts of Europe in future. In Amsterdam there is a very good program for preservation of elms, of wich there are around 70.000 in the city. Among these are still some beautiful old trees of Ulmus x hollandica 'Belgica', but as far as I know there are no large U. procera in Amsterdam. Of U. hollandica 'Vegeta'(Huntingdon Elm) there are medium large trees but not as old as of 'Belgica'.
By the way: 2787 Hoppus Feet = 100,47 cubic metre, a lot more than with modern feet.
Stephen, I don't know anybody measuring volume in the way you ask. In the USA there are several persons who do, like Robert Leverett, Robert van Pelt, Steve Sillett and Michael Taylor.
Beside giant conifers in the Pacific Northwest they have measured the volume of a huge Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) as nearly 5000 cubic feet = 140 cubic metres and of a tall big Tulip Tree of 4200 cubic feet, by measuring nearly all branches by climbing and taping.
Best regards, Jeroen
I think I will frame the above picture of that beautiful Elm and hang it on my wall! I am going to invent a time machine and return to 1960 with a good camera and 50 Kodak slide films!
Yes there are some survivors, very rare in The Chilterns. There was a Ulmus glabra of 26m x 1.3m which survived at least 3 phases of the dreaded DED. and finally died in 1993, I reported this to Alan Mitchell. Now there is the largest Ulmus glabra probably in the Chilterns about 25m tall with two trunks 60cm diameter still with no disease and strangely in the same valley an Ulmus procera 15m tall x 40cm which has somehow survived 2 bouts of disease and recovered! I do not know why? Just very lucky isolated trees?
Also a half hectare wood full of elms about 25m x 60cm unable to determine the species, but clearly very resistant to disease, Possibly a Ulmus carpinifolia clone or perhaps a rare Plot elm. There are just so many types.
Interesting about Elms in Holland I know they had an extensive breeding program. I am sure that Elm disease could be stopped by advances in breeding/genetics but there is no political will or money to do the research?
So the historic Elm at Oxford could have amounted to 100m3! The hybrid arose in Hinchinbrook Park in Huntingdon in 1760, so after 151 years the tree accumulated 100m3, which I find hard to believe. I know the rich alluvial floodplain soil around Oxford is fertile, but growth rate would surely be comparable with Abies grandis, Sequoia, Sequoiadendron! Perhaps the tree had everything it needed, as well as hybrid vigour. What do you think?
Perhaps volume measurement is another project for European trees although technically challenging. Certainly big conifers with little taper would be the easiest and would be interesting to see which ones were really the biggest, as we know measuring just height and diameter is possibly a inferior method of identifying the biggest.
Elwes and Henry were confident that the Magdalene College elm was much older than the 1760 selection of the 'Huntingdon' clone and represented an independent wild hybrid.
Thanks for that, that makes sense of my query. I wonder if this clone is now extinct? Certainly a massive tree I would estimate it would take at least 250 years to amass 80-100m3 of wood. It was certainly in a very advanced state of decay, judging by the 1911 photograph.
Perhaps Black Italian Poplar could have approached these sizes, as I have seen some enormous trees in old photographs which had been sadly felled.
Hi Stephen, Owen and Rob,
There are still breeding programs in the Netherlands for resistant elms, but indeed there is little money to do more research. Still there is a professional nursereyman in Holland breeding many resistant clones and in Amsterdam there is a good preservation / protection program for elms. Leo knows more about it, he is the co-author of a book on Elms in the Low Counties wich was published in 2009 (alas only in Dutch language). The other co-authors are Hans Heybroek, who did most off the research on breeding resistant elms and Hans Kaljee, who is the tree-consultant of the City of Amsterdam and among the most influential tree-people of the Netherlands.
About the Magdalene College elm: if it was much older than the first breeding of the Huntingdon clone (wich is given in the above book as 1746), was it sure it was a Huntingdon elm or just a hybrid of an unknown clone?
The biggest girthed hybrid elm in Holland is also of an unknown clone, see: Holländische Ulme (Ulmus × hollandica) '1929'
Tallest U. x hollandica in Holland are: Holländische Ulme (Ulmus × hollandica) '3450' and Oudemanhuispoort .
Considering measuring big conifers: Tim Bekaert describes a method here:http://www.monumentaltrees.com/en/content/measuringvolume/
About the largest European trees: you probably know we estimated the Ivenack Oak as having 140 cubic metre total wood volume and the Trsteno Oriental Plane as 150 - 175 cubic metre.
Some Giant Sequoias will have surpassed 100 m3 and in the near future will be the largest trees of Europe.
What will be the total volume of the big Abies alba in Ardkinglas as well as the largest Cedrus libanii and Sweet Chestnuts I don't know, but probably also around or above 100 cubes.
Hello Jeroen, very fine Elms.
Very interesting about the Elms in Holland. There was an attempt to genetically engineer Ulmus procera so it would hopefully be resistant and was undertaken at Abertay University in Scotland.
Ulmus procera proved to be an ideal subject for this as it does not produce seed and is sterile, so there was no chance of it breeding with other Elms with its changed genetics. However there are anti's in this country who did not like the idea of genetically modified trees (sadly a lot of ignorance here in my opinion), so sadly the project did to proceed to the next phase of testing the resistance in the field. However I believe it could still be done if there is the will!
A French Study has shown that none of the Common Elms in Europe have total resistance to the disease, although some are more resistant than others, Huntingdon Elm being one of them.
A recent statistical analysis of the spread of Elm disease has shown nothing could be done to stop it after the import of 'Rock Elm' logs from Canada in the late 1960's, into the ports of the UK, once it was established in the countryside.
Yes Giant Sequoia will be the biggest conifer, but London Plane will surely be largest broadleaf. The trees at Ely, Cambridgeshire and Lydney Park could be 80-100m3 perhaps as big as the tree at Croft Castle?
Also I am worried that climate change is going to seriously retard tree growth in South and Eastern England due to a predicted drop in summer rainfall during the growing season, in the next 100 years. However Northwest UK should become more productive for tree growth unless there is another disease.