jhn7's picture

Did it fall or was it pushed?

Observed: 5th February 2011 By: jhn7
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Our usual walk through our local wood was blocked yesterday by this large fallen dead tree. Leaning across it was another smaller one. Both trees were heavily covered with ivy, as are many of the trees in this wood. Does the tree die and then act as host for the ivy to climb up or does the ivy kill the tree?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Ivy (Hedera helix) interacts


anonymous spotter's picture

Ivy doesn't kill trees -

but this misconception leads to it being cut in many woodlands. It is not parasitic: ivy simply uses the tree for support. It does not prefer dead trees either, as some believe.
It may increase the risk of wind-throw, by increasing the surface area exposed to the wind.
As jhn7 points out, it is extremely valuable for wildlife, and this far outweighs any damage done in most situations.
Remember, too, that fallen timber is also a valuable wildlife habitat.

jhn7's picture

Thanks for the reassurance

As I said there is a lot of ivy growing on living and dead trees in this wood - in fact it sometimes seems the healthiest growth in the woods. Having seen so many ivy covered trees down I did begin to wonder if there was a link. Your surface area point makes sense. Thank you.

Certificate in Contemporary Science (Open)

Fenwickfield's picture

Bad Press

Ivy always gets the blame,as Roger said it has suckers which only hold onto the bark if the tree and use it as a natural trellis,I have a lot of mature ivy and it kept a lot of my birds feed with it's berries and insect's that live within it,if I had cut it down I am sure some of my birds would not of survived.It is also good for nesting in and protection from cold winter night's



chipoil's picture

Good to know...

We have ivy creeping along and up our leylandii trees, on reading the comments above I am quite happy to leave it for the benefits it will supply to the wildlife.