The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight,
the water mirrors a still sky
‘Wild Swans at Coole’ by WB Yeats
Dr. Philip Blackstock was commissioned, as part of the planning process, to establish the health and condition of the trees growing at Dunrovin and to provide recommendations for any tree works to be carried out on the site prior to the new build. In the past few years, there has been an increase in wind storms and some of the trees in Dunrovin have suffered some storm damage. The recommended removal of any tree, on the Dunrovin site, was guided by, as far as is possible, site safety.
Location and visual impact of the trees
Lough Ree is one of the attractive and popular lakes on the Shannon navigation. It is surrounded by woodland and contains many wooded islands. Dunrovin on Lough Ree consists of part of an old conifer plantation and semi-natural wooded lough shore. These trees have helped to screen the Coosan car parks from the adjoining property and provide some privacy and security. They also help to maintain the impact of a wooded lakeshore and are considered important in the landscape
Historical development of the site
Most of the mature trees on this site are now about sixty years old. They form part of what was, once gardens surrounding the Rice home. At some time, these gardens were converted into a mixed conifer plantation, with scattered beech and ash. It is likely that the lakeshore woodland grew naturally from dispersed seeds. There are also a few much younger trees and hedges that have grown from naturally dispersed seeds or have been planted within the last twenty years or so.
Recommendation protection of trees
A wide range of protections was recommended to maintain the trees on the site, as part of the planning process. A protective barrier framework of scaffolding, well braced to resist impacts was recommended to be erected around the base of all the trees to be retained at Dunrovin. No construction traffic, materials, or debris is permitted within this zone of protection.
Where permanent surfaces are to be constructed close to retained trees, within the zone of protection, accumulated organic material, and loose soil is to be carefully removed, leaving existing topsoil in situ. Root zones are to be protected with a layer of sharp sand.
Where scaffolding is established within the ‘zone of protection’ surrounding retained trees, the existing undisturbed ground surfaces shall be protected by a layer of sharp sand, approx. 50 mm thick, overlaid with a geotextile membrane. Stout planks, such as closely side-butted scaffold boards, will be laid over the geotextile membrane and scaffolding will be constructed on these planks with additional stays, as directed by a competent person.
Other recommendations related to crown cleaning, the removal of broken, diseased, dying, or dead branches or snags, the cutting of ivy stems at their point of entry into the soil, taking care not to damage the tree. The removal of all branch growth from within, or likely to come within, 1.0 m from overhead telephone cables and a limited number of trees to be felled due to their age and poor condition and the location of the build.
The tree report will form part of the story of Dunrovin as we create our own history and archives for future generations of inland waterways members.