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Rudy Racibórz. Cistercian oak fire. A CT scan will assess the condition of the tree

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The 500-year-old Cistercian pedunculate oak in Rudy near Racibórz (Silesian Voivodeship) will undergo a tomography scan after it was set on fire by vandals in the fall. The future of the 500-year-old tree is still uncertain. Specialized tests are to help in assessing its condition. Whether the historic plant survived the fire will be revealed in the spring.

Cysters pedunculate oak – one of the oldest and most impressive trees in Upper Silesia – in October it was set on fire by vandals. Foresters reported then that the fire was set in the partially empty interior of the trunk.

The arsonists have not been found.

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The Cistercian oak was set on fireState Forests/Rudy Raciborskie Forest Inspectorate

The flames were extinguished by the firemen who were called to the spot. It turned out that fragments of the inside of the trunk were burnt. A CT scan, which is to be carried out in the coming weeks, will help in assessing the condition of the tree. Detailed studies were difficult to perform in the fall, when the trees naturally lost their leaves. Currently, a contractor is being selected to perform the tomography of the plant.

Foresters: the tomograph will check the damage caused by the fire

– Tomography, a type of specialized x-ray, is used to determine the extent to which the fire has affected the tree. The tomograph will examine the living tissue in the tree and help us determine the degree of its damage, providing information on whether any ongoing care work is needed in the crown or in the trunk itself – explained Marcin Fischer, acting forest inspector of the Rudy Raciborskie Forest District.

Firemen extinguished the fireState Forests/Rudy Raciborskie Forest Inspectorate

The forester expressed hope that all would be well with the tree. – So far, we have not observed any alarming changes. But only spring will tell us whether the buds on the tree will bud or whether the changes after the fire are so significant that they will cause disturbances and death of this tree – explained Fischer.

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The Cistercian oak has already undergone tomography several years ago, thanks to which now, after another examination, foresters will be able to compare both images. – It will be possible to assess the dynamics of biological processes in the tree, to what extent the tissue is alive and to what extent it has been destroyed by fire – emphasized Fischer.

A representative of the forestry inspectorate informed that there are two scenarios in the spring: either the oak will develop and buds will appear on it, or “we will already encounter dead matter”. – We do not know this today, but the tomography will certainly give us a broader view – assessed the forest inspector.

It is not yet known what effect the fire had on the treeState Forests/Rudy Raciborskie Forest Inspectorate

Cistercian is about 500 years old and 26 meters high. He had already drawn attention to himself centuries ago

The Cistercian Oak is under the care of the State Forests. It stands in a historic park complex, in close proximity to the post-Cistercian monastery.

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The tree is about 500 years old and is one of the most impressive trees growing in Upper Silesia. Its height reaches 26 meters, the circumference of the trunk is 735 cm, and the diameter measured at a height of 130 cm from the ground is 230 cm. Hundreds of young oaks were grown from the seeds of the Cistercian tree, from which commemorative alleys were created, including the oak alley commemorating World Youth Day.

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The perpetrators of arson – if found – could face severe consequences. According to Art. 187 of the penal code, anyone who destroys, seriously damages or significantly reduces the natural value of a legally protected area or facility, causing significant damage, is subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to two years.

Foresters point out that the monumental oak is not only the oldest tree in Rudy, but also one of the most interesting natural peculiarities of the region. Already in 1752, the above-average size of the tree attracted the attention of the German artist Johann Elias Ridinger, who immortalized it in an engraving depicting the image of Our Lady of the Humble and the local abbey. In 1858, the tree was described by the historian and doctor of philosophy August Potthast in a work entitled “History of the former Cistercian monastery in Rudy in Upper Silesia”.

The Cistercian is one of over 50 natural monuments located in the post-Cistercian park in Rudy in the Racibórz region.

Read also: Henry turned green in the spring. They saved the oldest tree in Poland. “We hope he will live for many more years”

Main photo source: State Forests/Rudy Raciborskie Forest Inspectorate

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