Barking up a Tree

November 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Destroying nature, Gardens, Nature | 1 Comment
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It seems that there are very few responsible dog owners who actually train their dogs in good habits. I can certainly do without those barking dogs that exist in abundance here. The only bark I like around my home is tree bark.


Spotted gum in our yard

 In late spring, the trunk and branches of the Spotted Gum, Corymbia citriodora (subsp. citriodora in our area) outgrow its clothing. The bark begins to split and, over a period of a few weeks, the bark falls off in patches. As each patch of bark drops away, it reveals a soft, clean, green undershirt. This undershirt darkens over time, and the bark colour varies from blue-grey to pink.

Leaves and bark

Like their leaves, many of which also fall in spring, their bark covers the lawns. This drives some people to distraction. If they don’t cut them down in frustration, then out come the leaf blowers. These infernal machines are every bit annoying to me as unrestrained dog barking. However I simply cannot understand anyone who will cut down a beautiful and healthy tree just because it drops leaves on their lawn. They should move to the city if they don’t like trees!

I welcome the leaves (I wrote of this before) and the bark. I get out my trusty rake and gather them together, getting exercise and sunshine in the process. And soon, the leaves and bark are gathered and spread over the garden, providing a surface mulch that protects it from water evaporation and weed growth.

Forest of spotted gums

Spotted gums normally grow tall and straight and their very hard and termite resistant wood is a very popular timber. It has a wide variety of uses: poles; wharf and bridge supports; railway sleepers; timber framing in buildings; fencing; and even for fine furniture. This timber is the best for axe and hammer handles, as it does not split easily.

Spotted gum floor.

 Whenever I see a block of land being cleared of spotted gums so a house can be built, or when someone has one cut down for dubious reasons, my heart aches.

You may ask, ‘After the trees are felled, do they use the timber for any of these or for other uses to which it can be put?’ Almost invariably, the answer is no. Instead they are chipped, usually for garden mulch.

Oh, why don’t people just use the leaves and bark for that, and save those beautiful trees?

© Linda Visman

10th November 2011

Falling Leaves

October 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Gardens, Nature | 3 Comments
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Bright colours, Victoria

Autumn in the northern latitudes is a time for colour – reds and oranges and browns in all shades and textures. In small parts of Australia, the same applies. For instance, the sub-alpine town of Bright, in Victoria, is well known for its beautiful autumn colours. But there, the trees are mostly northern hemisphere ones, not Australian.

Because Australian native trees, such as eucalypts, do not shed all their leaves when autumn comes, most people do not believe they shed their leaves at all. But they do; they just don’t do it after summer is over. They do it when summer is coming.

Eucalypt leaves

We have a lot of eucalypts on our little piece of land. It is now (the end of October) the second half of spring here, and I have just raked their leaves from our lawns for the second time in four days. There is no shortage of them as you can see from the photo.

The trees lose leaves all year too, though not in such numbers. These leaves are dense and hard, not thin and brittle like those of deciduous trees, and they can take years to break down.

Most of the time I don’t bother raking them, but chop them up with the mulching mower. This helps to build up what is a naturally poor and thin layer of soil. But in spring, I collect them – not to throw them out or burn them though.


Goanna with leaves

We have a mostly native garden, and the spaces between the trees, shrubs and other plants remains bare. With summer heat, moisture evaporates quickly, so I use a layer of mulch to cover the ground. I used to use wood chips, but the cost is too high for our budget. Eucalypt leaves provide a great substitute. That is why I collect them when they are plentiful.

I cannot understand the mentality of people who chop down a beautiful, (perhaps hundred-year-old or more) tree, just because it drops leaves on their paths or lawns.

In a few more weeks, the spotted gums will shed their bark. Then, I will collect that and use it for mulch too.

Picture 1: Bright, Victoria

Picture 2: Eucalypt leaves on my lawn

Picture 3: Eucalypt mulch on garden. Plants (R to L) Cycad; banksia; kangaroo paw, plus my pet goanna.

© Linda Visman 29th October 2011

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