Most people like trees. Some people love trees. Most people can name a few species of tree. Some can name hundreds.
Most people have a favourite tree tucked away somewhere, it could be huge, tiny, tall, short, fat, thin, gnarly, smooth or wrinkled. It might have a special significance because of memories or experience.
I look at trees almost every day of my life the fields and woods of the South Lakes are full of fantastic trees so its taken me a little while to decide which one to nominate for http://www.cumbriastop50trees.org.uk/
After much thought I decided on the huge old alder at Boon Crag here's why;
The alder in 2012.
Alder are not generally a long lived tree and so rarely reach this size which is relatively common in oak.
Being responsible for managing such an important tree often means making some difficult decisions, how much do we intervene with tree surgery? Do we let natural processes carry on which might result in alder's death?
Often something else happens which modifies our management of the tree, this happened in the winter of 2013.
Crown badly damaged by storms in 2013.
Trees are naturally resilient and the alder bounced back the following spring with loads of new epicormic growth from the remains of the trunk.
I felt that in order to protect the epicormic growth, and other important habitats around the tree from browsing we needed to fence the tree.
Tree fenced summer 2016.
Trees of this age support a huge number of specialist organisms from bats to beetles and birds, fungi to flies, retaining and protecting old trees provides vital habitat.
Wood mould inside the hollow trunk vital for saproxylic invertebrates.
Aerial roots within the trunk are also sometimes found in hollow trees, the alder is re-using nutrients made available by the fungal decay of its own wood!
Wrens nest in the hollow trunk.
Epiphytes living in the damp decaying hollows found on the old alder.
Fallen branches left top decay close to the tree.
Check out the website and nominate your favorite Cumbrian tree. Or if you want to find out more about veteran trees and their management have a look at The Ancient Tree Forums website http://www.ancienttreeforum.co.uk/