A Majestic Oak for St James’s Palace
On Monday 4th March, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales planted a semi-mature Quercus Palustris (Pin Oak) as part of the creation of a new public square on Cleveland Row and the enhanced public space in front of St James's Palace.
© The Crown Estate
The improved public realm provides a quiet walkway between Green Park and Pall Mall, whilst the Pin Oak forms part of the broader ambition for greening in the public realm. This follows on from trees planted on Glasshouse Street and the introduction of planting at Waterloo Place. Alongside our green roof tops, this ground level biodiversity serves to encourage wildlife in the area and helps to improve air quality and the wellbeing of people in the space.
The improvements, which have been carried out by Westminster City Council, were primarily funded by The Crown Estate with contributions from Mrs Rusudan Makhashvili who owns Selwyn House, Berry Bros. Rudd who own properties on the north east corner of Pall Mall & St James's Street, Transport for London, and the St James's Conservation Trust. - The Crown Estate
Why the Quercus Palustris (Pin Oak)?
The Quercus Palustris was chosen by Arup Landscape Architects as the best option – a majestic, distinctive looking species with unusual leaves that have five bristle tipped lobes and transform into a brilliant red in the Autumn.
© The Crown Estate
The Quercus palustris was selected for a number of reasons; its ability to tolerate urban conditions with relatively high levels of air pollution, exposed climatic conditions, extreme periods of wet and dry conditions and varied soil types as well as its resilience to a changing climate over the coming years.
Supporting biodiversity, it will flower with catkins in the early spring-time, attracting lots of pollinators and, after a couple of seasons, bear acorns for local wildlife to feast on over the winter. This oak tree will provide nesting, cover and shelter for wildlife, whilst hosting a wide variety of insects such as butterflies and moth larvae, which in turn act as a food source for a variety of the Wild West End target species, including birds and bats.
It is an ideal tree for parks, urban spaces and avenues and has an attractive conical crown and unusual foliage. This provides significant seasonal variation, resulting in a distinct and beautiful tree that a positive contribution to its setting. The Crown Estate also sought a tree with real presence and instant impact, and so whilst the tree on planting is a ‘super semi mature’ at 14.0m, it will likely grow to about 20-25.0m in the coming years - an appropriate scale and form to compliment the surrounding building massing and urban form.
1. The Quercus Plaustris is a type of oak tree that is more commonly known as the Pin or Spanish Oak.
2. The tree has been sourced from a bio-secure grower located in the South of England.
The Crown Estate
St James’s Palace