The aftermath of the recent violent storms that battered the northwest coast has left an impact of the county’s wild foliage - leaving some them with a scorched type appearance.
The normal seasonally green leaves on large swathes of trees, hedges, and bushes around the county have the look of having been scorched by fire since the high winds struck just over a week ago.
It is understood this “wind scorch” on native plants may cause many not to develop properly over the rest of the summer. It may also affect bird and insect life.
Deputy Regional Manager for the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the county, Dave Duggan, says the violent storms hit the “young foliage” at a very sensitive time in its development and some of it may not recover fully from the effects this year.
He believes it was the mixture of elements combined which caused the damage to plant life. “As a result of the extreme winds coming from the west, it certainly brought very strong gusts from the Atlantic. A lot of very soft vegetation was just blasted by very cold winds. The wind effect on the soft foliage would have been enough to kill some of it off. It’s also quite likely that there was a high level of salt mixed in through the gusts as well. So it was a combination of pure winds that were cold and salty.
“It affected Alder trees a day or two after the storm as they have a very fresh leaves on them. Also the windward side of Hawthorn trees and hedges, even Birch trees on their more exposed sides facing westerly, they are very noticeably brown,” he explained.
Dave says this could cause permanent damage for the rest of the season. “Some of them will have difficulty catching up on growth again over the summer and of course that will have an impact on insect and bird life and the food chain in general. It was a natural event but it was quite an extreme event from natures point of view and will need a bit of time to recover. It was an exceptional storm coming from the west,” he said.
Dave, who is based at Glenveagh National Park said the famous parkland only suffered “minor damage” during the recent bad weather.