Life and Death of a Wild Cherry Tree

A very tall wild cherry tree at the top of the railway embankment at the bottom of my back garden, photographed on a warm spring afternoon in early April 2017.   In mid to late summer the birds gorge themselves on the cherries!

Wild cherry tree

On the 21st October 2017 Storm Brian hit the UK and sadly this beautiful tree became a casualty.  The following morning it was leaning badly to the right and swaying in the breeze.  Note the cross shaped twigs top right, which are now close to the twigs of the neighbouring tree.

Cherry tree the day after Storm Brian

The old railway line, which is owned by the local council, is now used as a footpath and cycle track; people walk their dogs, parents with children go for walks and bird watchers observe the many species of birds which live in the trees.  Sadly an unstable tree is a health and safety hazard.  The Council tree expert examined it, confirmed that it was dangerous and would have to be felled and their tree surgeons cut it down a few days later.  Following the Great Storm of 1987 we found out that trees have shallow spreading roots, rather than deep ones and as a result are more vulnerable when we experience exceptionally strong winds.

Tree surgeon at work
Tree surgeon at work

The cherry tree can be seen on the far left in December 2009.  The tall ivy covered tree to its right was felled a couple of years ago as it was leaning badly towards the back fences, threatening to cut them in two in a strong wind.  A few weeks later we did experience strong wind!  Our back gardens are in a northerly wind tunnel between the embankment of the old railway and the row of houses.  During the years we have been living here several trees have fallen and others have had to be removed.  However it is a beautiful backdrop to the garden and a haven for wildlife, especially birds, many of which nest there or in  my bay tree.  I have been gardening organically for more than 30 years and the local bird population do a great job eating garden pests.

Snow in my back garden mid December 2009

The back garden in mid December 2017 following the felling of the cherry tree.  Note that to the left of the greenhouse there is a younger cherry tree.  Hopefully it will survive the ivy growing up its trunk, as well as occasional strong winds and be able to provide a welcome treat for the birds for many summers in the future.

Snow in my back garden mid December 2017

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