159-year-old Redwood Avenue saved from disease

The 159-year-old Redwood Avenue at Benmore Botanic Garden has reportedly been saved through a conservation exercise to ward off its susceptibility to plant pathogens.

When the 49 giant redwoods (Sequioadendron giganteum) started showing signs of distress, curator Peter Baxter and colleagues at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) agreed radical action was required. 

As branches defoliated and the crowns of the trees started to thin, there was a real risk the trees of the 350m avenue, near Dunoon in Argyll, would succumb to diseases such as phytophthora. 

Soil compaction was thought to be central to the problem. Planted in 1863, the trees were among the first redwoods introduced to Europe from California and the Avenue was planted along the main driveway to Benmore house.

Only a very thin layer of topsoil was supporting the turf over the original hard-core road and this, combined with a typically wet west coast climate and limited drainage, caused serious waterlogging and puddling around the roots. This had created a favourable habitat for pathogens, and increased trees’ disease-susceptibility through stress.

RBGE’s director of horticulture Raoul Curtis-Machin said: “We are very open to sharing our learnings and experience with other gardens and landowners because we are all in this together now. Climate change and pest and disease threats are coming thick and fast and they don’t respect national borders, county lines or property fences.”

Read more about the trees on Benmore’s Sequoia Avenue Appeal

About the author

Dave Green

With a deep-rooted passion for nature and a decade-long journey nurturing redwood trees, Dave stands as a dedicated steward of these majestic giants. Over the past ten years, Dave has meticulously cultivated redwood trees, witnessing their growth from mere saplings to towering sentinels of the natural world. As a UK-based enthusiast, Dave has developed a profound understanding of the intricacies of redwood tree care, adaptation to local climates, and their unique appeal in British landscapes. Through Dave's expert insights and hands-on experience, readers are invited to explore the enchanting world of redwood trees and discover the wonders that these living monuments bring to our surroundings.