Examination of the condition of the oldest trees in the Buda Arboretum



Publication Date

August 2022


The Buda Arboretum is one of the richest plant collections in Hungary, located in the heart of Budapest, at the southern foot of Gellért Hill. The arboretum was initiated in 1893-94, now the garden covers 7,5 hectares and it surrounds the buildings of Buda Campus of the University of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The yearly precipitation is about 600 mm, to which 150-200 mm of irrigation water is added during the vegetation period. The soil is a strongly eroded humus carbonate or brown forest soil and contains lime and clay. The content of active calcium is high, the pH is alkaline, around 8.

Our study aimed to examine the old trees in the garden, understand their overall health, and develop optimal tree care recommendations to ensure their long-term life. The ecosystem services of the old tree individuals are far higher than that of young trees. A mature, more than a hundred-year-old tree with a large crown brings us as much benefit as 200-400 young individuals. The oldest trees in the arboretum are 120-130 years old. Among these champion trees, the following three species appear Carya cordiformis (Wangenh.) K. Koch, Fagus sylvatica L. ‘Pendula’, Parrotia persica C.A. Mey. We examined one individual of each three species with the following method: measuring the physical parameters of the trees (the size and height of the trunk and the crown); investigating the health condition of the trees with an instrumental wood investigation with Arborsonic 3D Acoustic Tomography (Fakopp 3D). We evaluated the results by applying a five-step tree condition assessment method of the European Union, especially concerning the effects of climate change.

We found that most of the examined trees are in relatively good condition, but they have more dry branches in their crowns and more lairs in their trunk.

Maintaining the garden's tree population is a priority, and this is helped by the fast and professional tree care interventions, which is also due to the fact that the garden is also the practical site for tree care training. 2021 was a record year for detailed instrumental tree surveys, with 11 3D acoustic tomographs measuring at the same time. Accurate analyses will help to determine precise treatments in the long term.

Keywords: arboretum, maintenance of old trees, visual tree examination, instrumental tree examination, climate change