Tree of the Month- The Birnam Oak

August 19, 2016

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare or History, then you’ll find this Oak particularly interesting! The Birnam oak is a 500 year old tree, located at the outskirts of Perthshire Village in Scotland. It isFOT1190878 thought to be one of the only surviving trees from the great forest that once blanketed the hillsides and banks of the River Tay. Shakespeare was inspired by this forest and included it in the play after visiting with a troupe of comedians in 1599. It is celebrated in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, as the famous Birnam Wood.

The Birnam Oak looks especially medieval, with large, low, gnarled branches covered in moss and buttressed roots. The Birnam Oak’s sagging limbs are heavy and structurally straining, and the trunk seems to be hollowed, but its long branches are still growing and leaf out every year! Unfortunately, the Birnam Oak needs serious help if it’s going to stick around for another century or two.

96295714_Birnam_Oak-xlarge_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAThe Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust hopes to raise money to aid in sustaining this iconic tree, extending its survival for as many years as possible. Currently, the tree requires urgent work to stabilize its structure and prevent the trunk from splitting. Some work has already been done, but much more is required before it can be considered structurally sound. Props that currently aid in stabilizing some branches need replacement, and soil compaction around the tree’s roots from the River Tay flooding needs to be addressed as well the erosion also caused by the flooding. These problems are viewed as long-term issues, and money raised to save the tree will help fund future maintenance.

The Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust is hoping to raise £100,000 to sustain the costs of the maintenance that will have to be regularly performed on the tree, but have only gotten £196 so far. So, if you’re a history lover, a tree lover, or both go to https://www.pkct.org/appeal/save-birnam-oak and donate!

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