Right beside my mother's driveway there is a big maple tree. Like most of the maples that are growing there in a row, it is hollow. Growing from the crotch of the maple, where the tree forks into two, there is a young cedar that has taken root. The cedar is currently about 20 inches (50cm) tall.
It seems that it has chosen a fairly limiting place to grow. The seed from a cedar on the opposite side of the drive, probably landed in the fork, which had a layer of decayed leaves and moisture, a perfect place for germination, and started growing. I thought I might be able to free its roots and transplant it into the ground, because I don't think it has much of a future where it is now, but when I felt around at its base, I discovered that its roots go down into some of the solid dead wood of the maple, so I wouldn't be able to get it out without mangling its roots and killing it.
In BC there is what are called "nursery logs". In the deep forest, tree seeds often fall onto the moss covered logs of fallen trees and take root and grow. As they develop, the roots eventually grow around the log and into the soil, so as the log decays, it doesn't really effect the growth of the seedling except to provide nutrients. These trees often look peculiar because when the log has decayed they are left with their roots forming an arch above the ground.
On Mom's maple this really isn't going to work that way. The fork where the cedar is growing is 65 inches (1.7 m) above the ground, which is a long way for the roots to go before they hit soil. By that time, the maple will be well on its way to deterioration and when it falls it will take the cedar with it.
I sure wish I could figure out a way to get the small cedar out of its doomed situation and into the ground.