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Monday, February 23, 2015

Loss of an iconic tree

Combe St. Nicholas has always been proud of the two Copper Beeches, which have graced The Lawns in the centre of the village for probably 150+ years. This view, with the dark tree on the right of the picture,  taken from the top of the church tower, is the one on the left side of The Lawns, in full leaf a few years ago.

Last autumn villagers in Combe became aware that this iconic tree on the Lawns had, almost overnight it seemed, been surrounded by a fungi, which turned out to be Meripilus giganteus, a kind that rots the tree roots and would ultimately result in the destruction of the tree. Professional advice was sought and sadly the decision was taken to fell the tree as the extent of the internal damage could have meant the tree could fall down without warning, especially if there were high winds, and cause injury to someone.

The tree, without its leaves still towered over the surrounding buildings when the tree surgeons arrived at the end of January to carry out its felling and removal. The work took about 3 days to fell and clear away the debris ( helped by people turning up with vans, trucks and trailers and helping themselves to the wood for burning).

Work started with removing the lower branches, then the top branches and it was such a sad sight when the main trunk, finally came down!

Stump is all that remains
Now we are left with just the stump and we won't know till next autumn if the remaining Copper beech on The Lawns has also been attacked by the same fungus. If so, it will mean the tree surgeons will have to return to deal with it. Let's hope not!

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