It's May! To celebrate my absolute *favourite* month, and as a warm up to #NationalHedgerowWeek (29th May-5th June, if it isn't already in your calendars) I will be doing an A-Z of hedge #HedgeAZ

It will be a month of unbridled hedge chat. The likes you didn't know you needed.
A is for Ash- a tremendous hedge plant, both trimmed into the hedge structure or as hedgerow trees, of which its one of the most common

There are 955 species associated with it of which 45 are only ever been found on ash

Also, Dormice feed on ash keys in summer- cute!
Insects congregate around the crown &beneath the canopy, including the rare Brown hairstreak butterfly which use them as ‘master trees’ to mate and feed on aphid honeydew.

All these insects then provide rich feeding for birds and bats ;)

But that's not all Ash feeds
Ash was traditionally pollarded as a working tree. &boy did it work. (why don't we use working trees anymore? They have a lot to give)

The timber is tough &good for crafts, charcoal, construction, medicine & the leaves useful as livestock fodder

No wonder its sacred to so many
But sadly it's suffering Ash dieback, which is set to be a disaster for a huge proportion of our ash trees

It's bleak, but it looks like 5% may have some genetic tolerance

It also looks like trees growing in open areas or trees in hedges are less affected than those in forests
because these trees have different microclimates, with higher canopy temperatures - unfavourable to the disease

We have between between 27 &60m ash trees outside woods so here's hoping! 9500 of these are ancients registered on the Ancient tree Inventory & I worry for them daily
So perhaps a glum start to #HedgeAZ but certainly worth going out & celebrating the wonderful Ash tree while we still have so many around.

And if we all keep our collective fingers crossed, we may get a good resistant population show itself!
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