Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive
This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number, where present, relates to the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Oak, English oak
In March 2021 a large oak tree fell from the East border across the East Walk completely blocking the path. There was not any extreme weather that night, but the tree was quite asymmetrical in its growth. The branches of the tree crushed one of the maple collection, Acer triflorum
(see description in the tree archive) Examination of the tree rings showed a very reduced growth after 2011 with almost no growth in the last 2 or 3 years, so the tree was clearly under severe stress before it fell.
The tree-ring widths for the whole tree were measured on a slice of the stump and dated by dendrochronology. The outer year that could be distinguished was 2019 and the innermost ring was dated to 1831. As the land for the Botanic Gardens was purchased in 1828, it is likely that this oak was part of the early boundary planting.
Stump of the oak
Part of the cross section showing rings from the time of the Tropical Ravine construction completion
Part of the cross section from the time of the Palm House completion
Outermost rings showing reduction in growth rate after 2011
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2021. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.
click here to view the rest of the tree archive