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Much-loved tree given protective fence to allow it to flourish

Published: 30 January 2024

Much-loved tree given protective fence to allow it to flourish The ‘Blitz’ Holm oak at the top end of Southernhay

One of Exeter’s most popular and much-loved trees is being protected to allow it to flourish for many years to come.

The Holm Oak Blitz Tree at the top end of Southernhay has had a protective fence put up around it to improve the health of its roots.

The tree, which was recently shortlisted for the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year 2023 and made it into the 13 most significant trees in the UK, has suffered compaction over the years by hard surface footpaths and roads nearby.

An area next to the tree was also used as a short cut by people heading into nearby Southernhay.

Compaction is bad for trees as it takes away oxygen and water from the soil and causes them to asphyxiate and die, preventing the soil from being available for further root growth.

Recently the tree had air and charcoal injected into the ground to improve its health. The high-tech work was carried out by Devon Tree Services on behalf of Exeter City Council, using an aerating tool that injects air and biochar into the ground at high pressure. The area being treated is the soil that comprises the feeding root area, to a depth of 600mm.

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