Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Snow damages hundreds of trees

Wakehurst Place (RBG Kew)
Visitors are being invited to donate money to restore the site

Hundreds of trees at an important visitor garden in Sussex have been damaged by the recent snowfall.

Wakehurst Place, near Ardingly, West Sussex, said more than a hundred trees needed remedial tree surgery after branches were damaged.

One tree collapsed under the weight of the snow while others lost branches. A number of shrubs were also affected.

About 40 trees at Bedgebury Pinetum, near Lamberhurst in Kent, have also been damaged.

Wakehurst's renowned collection of Daphne bholua, a Himalayan flowering shrub, had also suffered.

'Silent executioner'

Iain Parkinson, Wakehurst's woodland and conservation manager, who has worked on the estate for 23 years, said: "I have not experienced this sort of damage from snow at Wakehurst before.

"In a storm or strong winds you are prepared for damage because there is a lot of noise, but the snow has been like a silent executioner.

"It is the sheer weight of snow lying on branches for such a long period of time which has caused the damage.

"In the long term most of the trees will recover, but I'm sure there will be some visitors who will be quite sad to see damage to trees they are fond off."

Some trees and paths have been roped off while tree surgery is carried out.

Visitors are being asked to donate funds to help restore the tree collection.

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The damage at Wakehurst is expected to take two months to clear up



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