After making my way to the rhododendron flower last week (Keeping My Eye on the Goal), I turned around and came face to face with what became my next Greenbelt restoration task.
So many trees this Greenbelt site have been killed by ivy. One of the first trees I focused on freeing from blackberries and ivy last September was the one in the photo to the left. It had a split trunk at the bottom and both trunks split again further up. The trunks/branches on the west side were dead; the east side of the tree had leaves.
It was this tree that I saw when I turned away from the rhododendron bush. I noticed ivy was growing on it again so I started cutting. Since the time I originally worked on the tree, I have learned that our job is to cut the ivy at the bottom and at shoulder height. That is called a “survival ring.” We don’t pull down the ivy above the survival ring because dead tree limbs could fall on us. The City Parks Department usually leaves dead trees standing because they are a habitat for many bugs and other insects, as well as smaller organisms.
Some of the ivy vine roots are thin and others are thick. It usually takes a saw to cut through the larger ones. The second two photos below show a root that I’ve already cut at the bottom and pulled it away from the tree. Sometimes we have to use a crow bar to separate the root from the tree.
[Aside: Here are photos of an ivy ring that was pulled off of another tree in March. It is so dense… and hard. Looking at it helps me understand how it can kill a tree.]
Back to the story at hand: When I removed the ivy from around the bottom of the tree, I noticed that it looked as if the ivy had separated the bark from what seemed like the core of the tree.
It amazed me that the tree was still standing with a core this small. The separation of bark from core gave me the impression that there was a deep hole under the tree, but I don’t think that was the case.
I enjoyed looking at the inside portion of the bark.
As I was finishing the work, I noticed that fungi is growing on the portions of the tree that are dead or dying.
In closing, I will share words that my brother Bill wrote shortly before he died in 1992 at 39 years-of-age.
I can’t walk outside without seeing the beauty of our created world, from the rainbow in a line of earthworm slime, to another visible ring on Jupiter. We have been given this magnificent world to study and enjoy in limitless detail at any level, microscopic to cosmic. (The Truth I Live By)
I’m becoming more like my brother. I can now see that there is so much wonder even in this one tree.
[Note: It just occurred to me that what I call the core is under the dead part of this tree. Now I am really confused, especially since I didn’t see anything similar under the other side of the tree. I do see wood shavings, but I would have expected the empty space to be under the east side of the tree and the rotten wood to be on the west. I will have to investigate this more and will add an addendum to the post … or write a new one… if I get answers! If anyone who reads this post notices mistakes in my interpretations, please let me know. I’m a novice.]