Surgery plan to save Macbeth’s Birnam Oak

Picture:  Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

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An ancient tree, made famous by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is to undergo urgent surgery in an attempt to preserve it.

The Birnam Oak trunk is hollow, but as its long branches are still growing experts say the tree is at risk of splitting in half.

The oak, which grows in a strip of woodland on the south bank of the River Tay, and its neighbouring sycamore are thought to the sole surviving trees of the great forest celebrated in the play as Birnam Wood.

Work planned for the tree includes the removal of dead wood and some outer branches to help reduce the weight on the trunk, which is 5.5m wide.

Its large spreading branches have latterly been supported on a number of struts to prevent them from collapsing under their own weight.

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