New life sprouting from felled Sycamore Gap tree

Plans for the buds have not yet been revealed. Credit: PA / NATIONAL TRUST

New sprouts and buds are growing out of seeds collected from the felled tree at Sycamore Gap.

Conservationists at the National Trust have a collection of small seedlings which are beginning to "spring into life", they said.

They came to be after the Sycamore tree, which stood in a dip along Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, was felled in an act of vandalism in September 2023.

The tree had stood there for around 200 years, and had become a landmark of the North East for locals and tourists alike.

The tree was felled in an act of vandalism. Credit: PA

After it was felled, members of the public came to the gap to pay tribute to the tree, some even laying flowers and painted stones in its memory.

In December last year (2023), staff at the National Trust revealed that the material they collected from the felled tree was showing "signs of life".

Experts have used a range of techniques to try and cultivate life, including one known as 'budding'.

It works by attaching a single bud from the original tree to a rootstock of the same species. The two graft together and are joined by corresponding cuts in the material.

Conservation experts have been looking after the materials. Credit: National Trust

This process, if successful would create genetically identical replicas of the original Sycamore Gap tree.

Several dozen seeds which were grown in specialist compost have also now sprouted.

Plans for the sprouts have not yet been decided, and saplings would not be ready to be planted for at least 12 months.

Andrew Jasper, Director of Gardens and Parklands at the National Trust, said: "These techniques, delivered with a remarkable degree of care and precision by our conservationists, are providing a legacy for this much-loved tree.

"And while there’s a way to go before we have true saplings, we’ll be keeping everything crossed that these plants continue to grow stronger and can be planted out and enjoyed by many in the future.

"The response to the Sycamore Gap tree’s felling has been extraordinary, and we hope that by continuing to share its story, we can raise awareness of the cultural and natural significance of these majestic trees that we’re so lucky to have in the UK."

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