Trees should be cared for in our parks and playing fields

Dear Sir, Trees - don’t you just love them? Oak, ash, beech, birch, chestnut, hawthorn and sycamore.

Throughout the year they are a constant delight, heralding the spring with their sticky buds and bright new leaves, then their summertime blossoms amid canopies of foliage, followed by autumnal berries, nuts and winged seeds.

Then at the year’s end they stand bare again, stripped of their leaves the better to withstand the driving winter winds.

Most of us take good care of the trees in our own garden, ensuring they remain strong and disease-free.

But who looks after the trees growing around our parks and playing fields?


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So many of them are left quite untended nowadays, surrounded by nettles and brambles and eventually falling prey to that pernicious climbing parasite ... IVY.

Some people think that ivy is harmless to trees, but they couldn’t be more mistaken.

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Ivy is a deadly efficient invader. Its crush of intertwining roots suck the ground dry, robbing the tree of much needed water, while its rapidly climbing stems thicken and harden, first binding its host, then strangling it.

Having engulfed the weakened tree in a mass of sun-blocking leaves, the evergreen ivy then acts as a wind trap during the winter months, snapping its branches and finally toppling the whole tree to the ground.

The next time you are out walking, take a look at the trees and see how the ivy is everywhere gaining on them.

But don’t wait for other people to rescue the trees - liberate them yourselves!

Winter is an excellent time to start freeing the trees, so whenever you come across ivy beginning to attack one, simply tear it off the bark right down to the ground.

If the ivy is already well established, cut the thick stems through at around five feet up the tree trunk and also at the base, and then pull away.

The rest of the ivy up in the branches can be left for birds and insects to shelter in while it dies off over the months.

Believe me, it’s wonderfully satisfying to see an ivy-doomed tree blooming healthily again.

Yours faithfully

VICTORIA GILLICK

Old Market, Wisbech

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