A mighty oak gets mightier

Myerscough College's Lucome oak tree
Myerscough College's Lucome oak tree

An ancient Lancashire oak tree beat competition from an all star line up to win a national Tree Rescue contest.

The Lucome oak at Myerscough College, near Preston, received an unusual prize - an innovative revitalising treatment.

The county oak, a cross between a cork oak and turkey oak, is thought to date back to Georgian times. It is estimated it was planted in the then Myerscough Hall grounds around 1800.

In recent times it has faced a little upheaval, as the man who nominated the tree for the award Dr Duncan Slater, senior lecturer in aboriculture at the college, explained: “It’s one of the better trees on campus but also recently development has slightly infringed on its root system. We’re looking to keep a very valuable old tree in good condition not just for teaching purposes but for its own sake.”

He explained the first such cultivars date back to around 1762 and it is thought this one dates to around 1800. While there are a few at Worden Hall, Leyland and some in Cumbria this is thought to be the oldest.

The fitting of a water flood attenuation tank had meant the tree’s roots could be infringed, said Duncan, He said: “It is particularly exciting to have the opportunity to showcase this new treatment to our many arboricultural, horticultural and landscape students.”

Tree Rescue is a national campaign to save the nation’s oldest trees. Trees will be treated with Carbon Gold’s charcoal derived biochar product, which is enriched with mycorrhizal fungi Trichoderma, seaweed and wormcasts.

The tree's name owes its origin to the Lucombe Nursery, near Exeter.