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Rabbit ‘attacks’ leave tree-lovers hopping mad

PUBLISHED: 11:47 15 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:47 15 January 2014

Diana East amid the fallen branches of a monterey. Photo by Kelvin Dent.

Diana East amid the fallen branches of a monterey. Photo by Kelvin Dent.

Archant

GNAWING animals and Mother Nature have been blamed for hindering efforts in maintaining and enhancing the Sid Valley’s green landscape.

Hard-working Sidmouth Arboretum members have lamented a pair of ‘assaults’ on trees over the Christmas holidays – and suspect the Knapp orchard has been ‘attacked’ by rabbits.

Hopping mad volunteers sprang into action and have put down chicken wire or plastic netting around plum and apple trees to deter the floppy-eared menace and allow bark to re-grow around the trunks.

Storms and high winds brought down a low but heavy branch from a Monterey pine at Knowle.

The tree - number 96 in East Devon District Council’s tree survey – is 23 metres high with a life expectancy of more than 40 years.

“It was judged to be in good to fair condition but probably no one could estimate the immense weight that the branches carry,” said Sidmouth Arboretum chairman Diana East.

She added: “I measured a metre length of one broken branch which was full of mature cones and it came in at eight kilos on the scales.

“So you can imagine the immense strength of living timber. But this branch just got too heavy and fell away from the main trunk.”

Sidmouth Arboretum is holding its first public meeting today (Friday, January 10) at 5.30pm in the Leigh Browne Room of the Unitarian Chapel in May Terrace.

All are welcome to find out more about plans for 2014 and to suggest planting sites for the future.

Email info@sidmoutharboretum.org.uk for more information.

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