Bentley Priory, Harrow

Haloing the ‘Master’ oak

The ‘Master’ oak at Bentley Priory, Harrow, is believed to be one of the oldest trees in Middlesex and is listed as number 12849 on the Woodland Trust’s inventory of ancient and veteran trees. The tree is an ancient pollard with a girth of approximately 7.25m.

Arborist carrying out end weight reduction of a poorly tapered structural branch
Paul Melarange was commissioned by Nick Harrison, former tree officer at Harrow Council, to assess the condition of the tree and to make recommendations for its management.

A short report was produced detailing the recommended works. Only minor tree surgery was required to the tree itself. These involved the reduction of three end-loaded and poorly tapered limbs, which had been identified as having an increased risk of failure. The remaining works involved pruning and felling adjacent trees, a management practice referred to as ‘haloing’, the purpose of which is to reduce competition from adjacent vegetation and to allow more light to the veteran or ancient tree.

The tree work took 2 days. Cuts were made using a combination of natural fracture techniques and target pruning. The cut branches were either chipped or stacked in ‘habitat piles’. Ongoing monitoring will be undertaken to assess the tree’s response to the works.

The enormous trunk of the ancient oak at Bentley Priory

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