Woodland retreats
The Holly-Hug Tree

The best survival strategy is that a tree grows up straight, for stability in bad weather. When the winds blow the crown of the tree the force travels down the trunk to the roots which are hopefully embedded deep into the earth. The force then travels back up to the base of the trunk and in some cases it has been recorded this force can be equivalent to 220 tonnes. This can easily snap the base of a tree that has any structural weakness.

The tree that splits into twin trunks creates a structural weakness as there are now two crowns creating extra force to the trunk base and puts pressure on the point they grew apart. If that point is a U-shape the tree has a better chance of survival than a V-shape which is highly likely to split at the narrowest point snapping off and thereby killing one of the trunks. The other trunk will survive for a limited time only as fungi set into the wound eventually killing the tree from the inside out.

Resilience to weather the storms

One of our favourite trees, the Holly-Hug Tree has two splits, one at the base, and slightly higher up on its ‘right’ twin. There appears to be a line crack upon the second fork, which indicates a structural weakness. Trees are also known for their resilience and this tree appears to have slowly grown itself into a strong embrace to support its structure. The Holly-Hug Tree perhaps reflects back to us that even though some of us don’t have the best foundations to weather the storms of life; we can make changes of direction. If we can let go of blame and take responsibility for ourselves, we can support ourselves into creating a new foundation and from there we can grow into our potential.

We bless the Holly-Hug Tree and hope to see it wearing its Holly Crown for many winters to come.


Wohlleben, P. 2015. The Hidden Life of Trees.

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