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Life saving operation for one of London's oldest trees

Published Monday, 11 November 2013

Enfield Council is launching a rescue bid to save one of London's oldest trees from dying.

The 800 year old Minchenden Oak in Southgate dates from the time of the ancient Forest of Middlesex and is one of the oldest in Greater London. But it has begun to subside recently and because of its size and proximity to homes, Enfield Council commissioned independent tree experts to examine the condition of the tree and make recommendations on how to address the problem.

 In depth analysis of the tree, which was reported to be the largest in the UK in the 19th Century,revealed extensive internal decay despite earlier attempts to halt the spread of the problem.

To deal with the issue, specialist tree surgeons will install slow release chemicals to encourage root development and use a crane to remove a number of the heavier limbs to prevent the tree, which is 18 metres tall. from falling or blowing over.

 The work is scheduled to start tomorrow (November 12) and Minchenden Oak Gardens will be closed to the public while the work is carried out.

 Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "Enfield Council has carried out extensive works over the years to protect and nurture this historic Oak but it has now become apparent that we need to take further steps to protect this tree and prevent it from falling over, potentially endangering people and property near this structure.

 "Our primary objective is to save this fantastic natural monument which predates the Magna Carta. Doing nothing is not an option, because unless we take decisive action, this historic and much loved tree will fall over. If that were to happen the it would cause extensive damage to the park and potentially damage nearby homes.

 "The action we are proposing, while drastic, gives the tree a good chance of recovery and means that future generations can enjoy it for years to come."

 Minchenden Oak Gardens was created as an evergreen Garden of Remembrance in 1934 by Southgate Borough Council.

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