Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Tree Following with Lucy: November's Drama

Photo of ash tree at the side of the back garden before its tree surgery

This month's Tree Following post is completely different to the one I'd planned. I was going to explore the myths and folklore associated with my ash tree. The above picture contains a couple of clues to show why I abandoned my research.

Can you spot the taped off area and the ladder propped against my tree? The slideshow below shows you what happened next...




On November 17th my ash tree had visitors! After the tree's unexpected visit to VP Gardens last December, the local council decided the remainder of the tree was a potential safety hazard and commissioned a local firm of tree surgeons to give it a bit of a drastic trim.

The slideshow gives you a flavour of what happened. I apologise for the quality of some of the pictures, but it was a typical drizzly November's day. NAH and I hung out of our bedroom window watching what went on - judging by the tree surgeon's remarks, the trunk was quite slippery, so he was quite glad to be using crampons as well as all the ropes you can see.

It was interesting to see how he only cut part way through many of the branches, using the weight of the wood above to snap the rest of it through before lowering them to the ground for his assistant to carry them off. They took most of the wood away as ash is quite a valuable timber.

Photo of the ash tree at the side of my garden after tree surgery

After an hour and a quarter's work all that remained was an eight foot high stump. It's supposed to regrow from the trunk that's left*, so we'll see if that happens next year. The stump of the limb cut off late last December didn't sport any regrowth, so it was interesting to see the tree surgeon took off another slice of wood, possibly to help stimulate regrowth from there?

This forms a drastic change to my garden even though the tree itself is on the public land next door. My shady border is now a shady no more border. Already I'm aware of a lot more light in the garden, even though we're in the gloomiest part of the year. A rethink of the side garden border plus the previously shaded part of the double terrace border beckons...

* my initial research for this post unearthed accounts of ash coppicing as its a useful timber for making various products. A recent edition of Countryfile showed ash being steamed for the making of a large garden rake. It's one of the most pliable of woods, so it's useful for making all kinds of tools and furniture as well as being one of the best for woodburning.

Have a look at Loose and Leafy to see how my fellow Tree Followers got on this month.

20 comments:

  1. Maybe the shady border will be shady again in a few years time.

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    1. Possibly Sue, we'll see what happens...

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  2. Nooo! I thought for a minute it was going to be completely removed. Let's hope it regrows well next year. A shame they didn't let you have a log or two.

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    1. Unfortunately we couldn't have made use of them. My friend C from choir is a bit miffed he's missed out on the wood that burns so 'a king may warm his slippers by'.

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  3. That's a rather dramatic end to your tree following year! Flighty xx

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  4. I can tell you from experience that the our ash trees continue to throw out new shoots from our 6 ft snag and the small stumps so I hold out hope for your too.

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    1. That's interesting to know Donna, thank you. I wonder why the stump from earlier in the year failed to do so. Let's see what happens in 2015!

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  5. Oh - now talk about a short back and sides VP! How tall was the tree before surgery took place? I imagine the consequent changes will take some adjusting to. I do hope that you see signs of regrowth come spring.

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    1. Anna, it was about 40 feet high, so this is quite a difference!

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  6. Looks a bit drastic at the moment but may be it will start regrowing in the spring time with more vigor

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    1. Hello! I remember you from Blotanical days - good to see you :)

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  7. Necessary adjustments are needed now for some of your planting with more light coming now. And your tree gets extra interesting with its drastic trim!

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    1. Hi - it'll be less interesting for a while - I don't think I can publish a picture every month of a stump! Fingers crossed things change in the spring...

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  8. Oh dear, your poor tree. What a dramatic end to your tree watching. I do hope that it will regrow.

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  9. What a dramatic turn of events, but trees can be remarkably resilient ...

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  10. High drama! However, I agree with some of the others - my ashes regularly have haircuts, drastic ones on occasion, and they sprout twigs really easily. Which means another visit from the tree surgeon, of course, in due time. Yggdrasil ( the world ash) isn't killed off so quickly...

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  11. Well, they didn't leave much to be followed...

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