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The Ancient Ash Tree

In our county we have four protected ash trees. The biggest of these grows in the cloister on Halsnøy. This giant has a trunk diameter of 2,5 metres. The trunk is everything but even and straight - the bark bulges inward at some places, at other places outward.

The main trunk is about five metres high, and a series of pollarded branches reach out from it. It is roughly 80 years old, and it seems that the pollarding (cutting off branches) ceased about the time when the tree was protected, in 1921. The tree is not meant to tolerate the weight of the long, heavy branches. The burden is especially great because they grow out from the same main trunk. In order to ease the burden, some of the branches were cut off in the autumn of 1998.

The old Ash on Halsnøy is the only one remaining of the four ancient ash trees that were described by botanist professor F. C. Schübeler in 1863. The diameter at that time was 1.9 metres. How old is the tree? The old wood on the main trunk is probably so rotten that it is not possible to read the rings dating all the way back to the tree's youth. We can nonetheless guess that this old ash is about 400 years old.

  • Moe, D. 1999. Den fredete asken (Fraxinus excelsior) på Halsnøy kloster. Årbok for Bergen museum 2000:53–55.