Saturday, 10 March 2012

Ash Trees with Ivy Cloaks

Three ash trees in the hedgerow between the Pylon Field and the Nursery Field at Filnore Woods.  They are wearing cloaks of ivy.  Ivy isn't a parasite on trees and it is a very good habitat, giving shelter and food for roosting birds, hungry rodents and a host of insects and spiders. One of our prettiest butterflies, the Holly Blue is dependent on it as a food plant for its caterpillars in summer. (see pic below)

Ivy does not usually strangle trees like Honeysuckle or weigh down the branches like old Man's Beard.  It can add to the weight and wind resistance of branches, however, and this can lead to wind damage of the trees.  It may also stop light getting to the tree and so prevent new shoots from growing. 

In the picture, the tree on the left is still managing to outgrow the ivy but only just.  Perhaps it is time to sever the ivy at the base.  As the ivy dies more light will get to the tree and it will be less likely to lose branches from the sheer weight of the ivy foliage.

A holly blue butterfly

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