Tree X-raying at Batsford Arboretum Sparks Interest from BBC Countryfile

The conservation work of Batsford Arboretum near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, recently sparked the interest of BBC Countryfile upon hearing about two particular projects.

The first involves a lesser-known technique to test and monitor trees within the Arboretum that are showing signs of decay. The technique, known as Tomographing, is a form of x-ray which shows the extent of the decay, the results are used to decipher whether or not the tree has to be felled. Batsford work with Oxford Brookes University who perform the Tomographing. The technique was of interest to BBC Countryfile who sent presenter Matt Baker along to Batsford to film a Tomograph taking place. The results showed that the tree in question – a 100 year old Purple Beech - was suffering from severe decay and, sadly, had to be felled.

Following the loss of the Purple Beech, Countryfile presenter Matt Baker helped Batsford’s Head Gardener, Matthew Hall, plant a Serbian Spruce – a tree that had sadly become endangered in its native environment.

In 2000, Batsford joined the International Conifer Conservation Project, based at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, to host a collection of rare and endangered trees from around the world. The project aims to identify trees that are under threat - from deforestation, fire or pollution – and bring rare species back to the UK to be planted in a protected environment. Batsford joined the project to help safeguard and preserve the trees in the future. The first trees to be planted at Batsford were Chilean Conifers which have done particularly well, thanks to the similarities in the UK and Chilean climates. Batsford have also taken on trees from China, Japan and Vietnam.

Batsford will feature on Countryfile on Sunday 17th January at 6.30pm on BBC One.

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