In for a Splash. Soak. Whatever

May 27, 2014

It may almost be the end of May, but that doesn’t mean all our trees are in leaf yet, oh no…

ash tree

The annual face off between the oak and the ash as to which one is most resistant to the blandishments of spring is on – and it looks as if the oaks have blinked first, by a long way.

spring trees

Normally I’d be rejoicing because as any fule know, ash before oak, in for a soak – oak before ash, in or a splash* but to be honest the ash have been holding out for so long this year I was beginning to worry about it being something more sinister.

If we did lose our ash trees they’d leave such a huge gap in the landscape that it’s hard to imagine. I’ve always thought of ash as being slightly weedy trees, because of their habit of setting seed everywhere and springing up in the most unwelcoming places. But give them a place to spread and a couple of hundred years to do it in and they become magnificent.

ash tree

Fortunately on close examination it looks as if they were just playing dead …

* I can’t help but think there’s a bit of a lack of ambition there on the part of our ancestors when it comes to predicting the summer weather. There’s an obvious gap in the market here for some combination of tree-leaf emergence that heralds a long, hot, glorious barbeque summer – possibly something along the lines of ‘Ash and oak in March their leaves forming, summer spent worrying about global warming…’

Oak Before Ash

May 8, 2009

Spring has come to the hedgerows recently, but I cycled past one bit this afternoon that didn’t seem to have got the memo:


I thought it might just have been over-flailed, but closer inspection revealed the black buds of an ash. Hmm, I thought, I wonder if the old wives’ tale is relevant here, and I proceeded to cycle very slowly indeed, looking for oaks and ashes to compare:

oak_leaves ash_buds

That looked pretty good to me. After all, if both the met office and the old wives were in agreement, surely we must be in for a dry summer after all – always assuming the met office aren’t simply using old wives’ tales for their long range forecasting themselves. Which might explain quite a bit…

And then I cycled a little further and saw this:

oh no! Ash Leaves

oh no! Ash Leaves

Come on trees, make your minds up. After further careful surveying it seemed that in general, the oaks seemed to be a little bit more out than the ashes, but it wasn’t exactly conclusive. So which is it going to be – soak or splash?

sunshine and showers
I expect round here it’s going to be a bit of both…