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Cuttings of Black Poplar will ensure its gene line

Created on 30/07/2020 @ 07:35
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A significant survey has been undertaken on Newtown's once threatened Black Poplar tree, along with cuttings to ensure the future of its gene line.

The tree, in the Gravel Car Park, is unusual in that it has crossed the River Severn. The river once flowed on the other side of the tree before being diverted as part of flood defences.

A runner-up in the Wales Tree of the Year competition, the tree survey was carried out along with a free arboriculture report from the Woodland Trust as part of the competition.

"The Black Poplar is one of Britain’s rarest and most endangered native species, so to have one growing in the heart of the town is a story of survival on its own, but our Black Poplar has had more than fungal disease, leaf rusts and poplar scab to contend with," said a Newtown Town Council spokesperson.

"The story of survival starts in the 1960’s, the tree then stood majestically on the Llanllwchaiarn side of the river.  Due to the great floods of 1960 and 1964 a large flood prevention scheme was needed. As a result, the river was diverted and moved, and the tree found a new home on the Newtown side of the river. Amazingly the tree survived all the work and continued to thrive."

The Poplar’s existence was then threatened in 1990 when it survived plans to be chopped down to make way for an extension of the car park.

Special conditions were put into place to protect it and no harm came to the tree again.

The tree has remained a popular attraction in the town with locals and visitors alike, providing a landmark welcome for all and is still a very popular spot to picnic and relax.

As well as the survey Newtown Town Council has taken steps to save the gene line by taking propagation cuttings which will be ready to be planted by the original tree in the Autumn.

Mayor Cllr David Selby stated: “I was delighted to see our Black Poplar tree having a successful health check.

"It should be with us for many more years. I was also pleased to see how much the tree is the centre of a successful picnic area at this time of year welcoming both residents and visitors into town.  With the recent improvements in the Gravel Car Park, and the re-opening of the toilets, the Black Poplar tree can stand proud in an attractive and welcoming part of town."

Photo: Present in the photo was Arboricultural Consultant, Geoff Monk, Mayor Cllr David Selby, Town Clerk, Ed Humphreys, and officers of Powys County Council's Countryside Services, Steve Gealy and Stephan Butcher. Also present was PCC Ecology Officer Rachel Probert. 


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