Save the ivy on Arnold Circus
The London Plane tree clad with ivy on Arnold circus is about to lose its seasonal visitors of blackbirds, Wrens, Robins, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Greenfinches and Chaffinches together with spiders and insects like butterflies, moths and bees. This mature tree and attached ivy has provided spring nesting places, a natural food source for creatures throughout the year, winter hibernation for bees, moths and butterflies and winter roosting and shelter for small birds. The Friends would prefer that the ivy could be cut back from the branches using a cherry picker and be regularly maintained to prevent it from becoming top heavy. With the renovation works about to start the tree will lose the ivy in the new plans for the garden.
The following is taken from Tower Hamlets own Biodiversity Action Plan:
Grounds and Gardens, which includes grounds of schools and other education providers, businesses, communal gardens on housing estates, allotments, community and private gardens, all provide a variety of different habitats for native plants and animals such as ponds, hedges, log piles, wildflower meadows and trees. Their distribution is widespread and together makes up about 28% of the total land use in the Borough, a significant coverage when compared to the 10.9 % of area offered by our official parks and open spaces. Many of these areas are of low habitat value but with active public involvement they can become a rich network of green corridors for biodiversity to expand and flourish. Animals can move easily from one to another and seeds can be spread forming potentially rich and important habitats for wildlife.
Comments from Kenneth Greenway – Cemetery Park Liaison Officer
Firstly, here at the Cemetery Park we have quite an aggressive attitude towards Ivy, but that is because it has for many years been the Status Quo. Saying this we are open minded and in some cases we allow Ivy to persist on a tree.
Right, onto positive arguments for Ivy. Assuming you have a strong tree with a well developed trunk and crown Ivy will offer it’s highest wildlife value when in contact with direct sunlight. During Sept and Oct it flowers in these aspects and offers a wonderful nectar/pollen resource to many invertebrates such as a number of butterfly species like the Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Brimstone, along with a large number of hoverfly species, and spiders, etc. This in turn creates an opportunity for birds. During late winter before spring Ivy then offers a wealth of new food opportunities as the Ivy ripens it berries which are then devoured by birds. During the rest of the year it is a wonderful resource for nesting birds and if dense can be a roosting opportunity for bats.
Ivy of course can be a negative thing, especially if it grows on a weak, spindly tree. Ivy is not parasitic and if you look carefully it will not grow across branches of a particular thickness. It does create dense, dark cover that will allow little else to thrive. If a tree is weak, or tall and spindly the sheer weight of Ivy, often assisted by the wind can cause trees to fall over and limbs to drop.
My point of view would be to have at least one tree covered in Ivy and choose the tree that gets the most sun during the day. It’s also worth noting that the London Planes trees at AC are substantial plants in their own right and I think will quite happily cope with a cover of Ivy.
Please help to preserve this natural habitat by commenting on this blog. Thanks