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Sowing seeds from a mighty oak on the ‘wood wide web’

The 1,000-year-old Brian Boru oak in Co Clare has dropped a bumper harvest of acorns – and conservationists are getting ready to plant ‘daughter' saplings out.

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Jeremy Turkington with some of the saplings grown from the Brian Boru tree in East Clare. Photo: Eamon Ward

Jeremy Turkington with some of the saplings grown from the Brian Boru tree in East Clare. Photo: Eamon Ward

The Brian Boru tree in East Clare. Photo: Eamon Ward

The Brian Boru tree in East Clare. Photo: Eamon Ward

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Jeremy Turkington with some of the saplings grown from the Brian Boru tree in East Clare. Photo: Eamon Ward

One bright morning in September 2019, Jeremy Turkington found himself crouched over a thick carpet of acorns that had dropped from the ancient Brian Boru oak in Co Clare. It was a harvest he had been anticipating for months.

We’d been scouting the tree for seeds since June and knew it was showing signs of a heavy mast of acorns,” says the arboriculturalist. A “heavy mast” happens every five to 10 years, when an oak drops a bumper crop of around 100 acorns per square metre.


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