Sunday, 23 December 2012

Crime scene

My neighbour is having her garden landscaped at the moment and over recent weeks it's been heavy duty stuff, with a JCB levelling out and knocking down. They've also had the chainsaw out and cleared most of the old apple trees, leaving one to here and there.
One survivor is an ivy-covered hazel that was to close to the boundary fence for felling and had to suffer radical surgery instead. Then a night or two ago the wind blew and one of its main limbs snapped off and dropped into our garden.
Or would have done if the trailing ivy didn't keep it in its grip. I had to get a saw out and cut it free.
Looking at closely at it, the mass of entangled ivy stems completely encase the hazel limb, which was dead and beginning to rot. In my picture there's two or three times as much of the light ivy wood as there is darker hazel.
That limb was carrying a lot of weight. Which made me think about the relationship between ivy and its host tree once again. A friend of mine is convinced that ivy kills trees and looking at the way the ivy had this hazel held it's really easy to see it as one strangling the life out of the other.My friend would look at this picture as evidence of murder committed. But it's really more about ivy flourishing on trees that are already on the last lap.
The RHS says of ivy "its presence on the trunk (of a tree) is not damaging and where it grows into the crowns this is usually only because the tree sare already in decline or diseased and slowly dying". An innocent bystander then and guilty of no 'crime'. 

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