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Holm Oaks in Dagnam Park

The Holm Oak was introduced into Britain from the mediterranean in the 1600's and it is a hardy tree even in our harsher climate. It is easily recognised because it is our only evergreen Oak species. It was widely planted in the grounds of large houses and parklands, not a really rare tree but infrequent.

There are still (2011) a few Holm Oaks in Dagnam Park, in Hatters Wood and in the old playing fields. see below.  Many early visitors to the Manor will remember the long gone "Giant Oak"

Below, the Giant Holm Oak, (Quercus ilex) that once stood in the gardens close to the Dagnams mansion between the Lily pond and the Perch pond.

The huge spreading branches were supported by a ring of wooden props which were themselves small tree trunks, several can be seen in this picture. Holm Oak is an evergreen species of Oak, there are several others in the park. This photograph was taken in 1964/5. The tree had already shed a large limb and this picture shows a ring of stakes and a ramshackle chain link fence that the Greater London Council had put up in the interests of public safety. A few years later the tree was cut down and removed completely. This photograph was taken by Brian Herbert, at the time he lived in Tarnworth Rd. His friends depicted also lived in Tarnworth Rd. They are William ( white cardigan ) and Robin Gartshore they had an older sister Ella.

Brian lost contact when he moved to Australia later in 1965, he would dearly like to know where they are now. So if anyone has any clues please let us know.

( They were subsequently located in Spain via this website.)

Editors Note. in her book, Dorina Neave refers to this tree as the Cork ilex, this is a mixture of English and Latin and refers to two separate species. There is a tree known as Cork Oak (Quercus suber) but our tree is undoubtably the Holm Oak (Quercus ilex). Dorina would have been familiar with the Cork Oak as it is a mediterranean species but it is not hardy and does not thrive in the British climate.                                   Del Smith

We are extremely grateful to Brian Herbert for permission to publish the photograph.

Below an enlargement from the 1946 aerial photograph

 Below a Holm Oak in the old playing fields, Photo Don Tait, 2011. Below that the same tree in 2020 clearly distressed.

There is some long standing damage to the trunk and Don Tait reports that it is also heavily infested with a leaf mining moth. Though that is not expected to be terminal.

 

 

Another much larger Holm Oak can be found just within Hatters Wood behind the site of the old concrete changing rooms/toilets. A single tree with three trunks. Photo Del Smith, March 1973.

The same tree, little changed after forty years. Don Tait 2013

Peter Adams has recently (2020) pointed out that this tree is also in some distress. The three pictures below all taken in 2020 by Peter illustrate the trouble it is in. The fissures in the trunk seem to be part of the problem. We need an arborculturist to explain why this has happened. This tree is also plagued with leaf mining moths.

Peter Adams recently (2020) discovered a third Holm Oak near the Priory pond. This tree is seriously impacted by an Ash tree that is growing on the same spot. As well as suffering this serious competition it is also infected by leaf mining moths and what looks leaf galls caused by mites.

 

On the left a light infestation of leaf miners.

Below galls caused by a mite. Both photos by Peter Adams