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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Mystery tree and other tree thoughts

Let's start with the mystery tree. It had a gorgeous spiraling trunk and had been planted between a horse chestnut and an aspen.


The leaves were large with serrated edges and very pale underneath.

And there were berries!


The white underside made me thing whitebeam, but I didn't know they had berries and so I started thinking it might be a Sorbus (like rowan). Turns our whitebeam IS a Sorbus - Sorbus aria.


I was taken by this tree because it had a shrub growing between its branches.

The aspen held a deserted nest.

The village also features a Turkey oak. These, unlike our native oaks, do not host so many bugs. But it's a handsome tree.

In the churchyard there was a native oak which had clearly grown unshaded by any other trees and was beautifully rounded and almost symmetrical.


The graveyard had a sycamore which must have been coppiced at some point.

And that reminded me of an ash on my run yesterday which showed evidence of similar treatment in the past.

Coppicing and pollarding can increase the vitality of trees and lead them to live longer - but it won't protect the ash from die-back. Not that I am sure if anyone has done any serious research on this. Let's see... Ah-ha! This from the Woodland Trust:


Established ash pollards (trees that were already pollards before ash dieback was introduced) have been shown to be particularly tolerant to the disease. This is most likely due to the intricate water transport systems and thick bark at the boles which have developed over years of continuous pollarding.


Ash pollards in a regular pollarding cycle should continue to be cut provided they are healthy. Restorative pollarding should however be treated with caution.

Young ash coppice is especially prone to infection. Therefore, if ash is a significant component of managed coppice areas (>25%), a review of the suitability for coppicing should be undertaken including an assessment of the biodiversity impacts of stopping.


Well, there you go. Not what I had expected. But of course the tree folks would have looked into this.

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