One of London’s favourite trees, a 160-year-old strawberry tree in Battersea Park, was damaged by Storm Eunice last week.
The north-facing branch of the tree collapsed, and it is reportedly half the tree it used to be.
Enable, a charity that oversees park management for Wandsworth Council, is acting quickly to minimise the damage and save the tree.
Neil Blackley, head of parks at Enable, said: “We’re really sad about this one. This tree is a link to our past and heritage and we’re doing our best to keep it in Battersea Park.”
Blackley added that a dedicated team of park officers is using a resistograph to measure the remaining strength and resilience of the tree. This is a machine that gives an indication into the quality of wood behind the bark of a tree.
Park Officers would normally survey tree strength every three years; however, they will be monitoring the strawberry tree every six months.
The damage will be managed appropriately in accordance with the increased monitoring. Pruning will be done carefully to deal with any future weight or strain issues.
Blackley is hopeful that the tree will survive, and that with appropriate care, the tree will be able to restore itself over time.
Londoners nominated the iconic tree as their favourite leafy landmark in the aftermath of the Great Storm of 1987, which saw over 15million trees felled across the UK.
With 41 other surviving trees throughout Britain, the Battersea strawberry tree was subsequently awarded ‘Great Tree’ status by the Countryside Commission in 1988.
The tree was probably planted in the 1860s after the park opened in 1858, making it one of the oldest trees in the park.