Gusts of wind reached 85mph in parts of Scotland as Storm Malik swept across the country on Saturday. High winds brought down trees, damaged buildings and more than 80,000 people lost power. This was shortly followed by further disruption on Sunday night with Storm Corrie. The Garden was closed to the public and recorded gusts of up to 62mph at the West Gate during Storm Malik. The highest wind speed average over a 10 minute period was at 08:30 where an average of 32mph was recorded.
Most of the damage occurred during Storm Malik. Two trees were completely windblown; Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca (19370579*B), and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (19687285*T). The Chamaecyparis will be particularly difficult to clear due to the way the canopy is caught in a neighboring tree.
A large section of the Fagus sylvatica ( 19687538*M) near the Aeolian harp was broken from the tree by the wind. The section failed at an included branch union where there was some internal wood decay. The falling section landed on a very fine specimen tree of Platanus orientalis var. insularis (19331008*A) breaking branches and destroying over fifty percent of the canopy.
A stem of Cupressus chengiana var. jiangeensis (19912947*L) broke blocking access to the Chinese Hillside area.
In the West border the top of an impresive insence cedar, Calocedrus decurrens (19370100*A) from California, was blown out leaving the tree needing a dramatic further reduction in height to maintain what is left of it.
Branches were blown from Pines in the collection. Pinus contorta var. latifolia 19698167*A, and Pinus monticola 19698174*A, both lost branches.
A specimen of Rhododendron pseudochrysanthum (19633869*A) was blown over in the Secret Garden. The condition of the stem means tat it can not be propped back up but there is plenty of material for propagation and the Nursery team have already taken buds for micropropagation. The species was identified by a red engraved plant label as one of the many plants that we grow that are at risk in the wild. This is currently only a feature of the labeling of the Rhododendron collection but something we would like to see roll out across more of the collections.
When storm events like this occur it takes a lot of resource to deal with the aftermath. The team are hard at the clear up already. We are fortunate to have highly skilled staff that can tackle all of the challenges that storm clear up brings.
Good to have news of the recent damage and sad to hear of the losses as well as the rescues where possible and that the expertise of staff will be invaluable.