HomeTreeworker NewsTragic loss of veteran tree

Tragic loss of veteran tree

Tragic loss of veteran tree

A news clip from "the world of trees".

Picture: Its last spray of autumn foliage.

Tragic loss of veteran treeThe early hours of 10th March 2010 saw the tragic loss of yet another veteran tree. This time it was not due to development pressure or changes in soil levels or water table. The ancient Ginkgo was uprooted during a snowstorm that blew through Kanagawa during the early hours of that day.

Picture: Ginkgo in full leaf

ginkgo3In 1955 the tree, which stands in front of the main hall of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine, was been given the status of National Monument of Kanagawa Prefecture. The tree that stood 30metres in height & measured 6.8 meters in circumference is believed to be about 1,000 years old was heard crashing to the ground at 4am by a lone security guard.

Picture: The Venerable Ginkgo

ginkgo4Chikayasu Hamano, a professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture, attributed a blizzard from late Tuesday afternoon as the main cause of the tree's collapse, in addition to heavy rain from February that softened the ground. Hamano also commented that it is impossible to save the tree. Shigeho Yoshida, the chief priest of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, was too shocked to comment on the matter, whilst other priests made spiritual gestures by offering rice and sake to the collapsed tree.

Picture: Priests erect rope onto shrine

ginkgo5The giant ginkgo tree, well known as a symbol of the shrine, was dubbed "Kakure Icho" (hidden ginkgo) since monk Kugyo hid behind the tree when he assassinated Minamoto no Sanetomo, the third shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate, in January 1219.

Picture: Tree with Professor Chikayasu Hamano

ginkgo6Professor Chikayasu Hamano said on Wednesday that it would not be possible to save the tree, however, following further study of the damage on Friday morning, he concluded that " Although it's not for certain, new roots may grow from the trunk if we plant it again". It is also hoped that young trees may grow from the roots still remaining in the ground. According to shrine officials, the trunk will be cut off about four metres above the fracture & planted back into its former site.

Picture: The Fallen Tree

ginkgo7Let's hope that the project is successful as it is reminiscent of the Selborne Yew project of 1990 when the ancient tree was blown down in late January. After pruning it was winched back into situ, but sadly did not survive the shock. I believe that the remaining hulk still stands within the church grounds at Selborne, Hampshire.

Picture: Fallen Ginkgo

Mar 2010