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The gum tree menace – time for action?

By johnboy - 5 March 2009 76

[First filed: March 04, 2009 @ 12:48]

Gum trees are frequently beautiful. They smell nice. They’re iconically Australian.

But there are some downside too. They’re programmed by evolution to try and burn all other life forms to death.

And, as pictured they like to drop enormous weights from above. This was not a sick tree, the wood is not rotten, the branch was not dead, and yet here it is in an Ainslie park across a path children walk along every day on their way to school.

As Canberra gets older and the eucalypts get bigger is this something we need to get serious about?

Gum trees

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76 Responses to
The gum tree menace – time for action?
Gungahlin Al 2:30 pm 04 Mar 09

It is unfortunately the case that built up areas and big old eucs just don’t mix.

GCC (following up on concerns from some residents) this week received via the LDA an arborist report on the whopping great yellow box beside Flemington Road just north of Well Station drive (east side). The arborist was clearly reluctant to recommend removal given the tree is “ancient”, has multiple hollows being used by various parrot species, and would likely live for some decades. But he conceded that in what is going to be a highly built up area, the tree could not be rendered even close to safe without losing everything that made it valuable.

But Miz that doesn’t mean the answer is always some exotic deciduous either. There are plenty of appropriate native species and evergreens are quite OK in most situations.

Danman 2:24 pm 04 Mar 09

Maybe not limited – but certainly monitored – warning signs erected a’la Sydney Bot Gardens Moreton Bay Figs.

I could imagine it could be a logistical nightmare for areas such as Mt Majura, Mt Ainslie, so maybe standard disclaimers on entry to these areas? – I dunno.

niftydog 1:38 pm 04 Mar 09

I say let them be (for the most part) and teach people what to expect from the environment in which they live. Wrapping everything up in bubble wrap and pretending that life isn’t dangerous is just asking for trouble.

Cheatley 1:24 pm 04 Mar 09

Overwatering young eucalypts makes fast growing branches that the tree can’t support when it is larger, which are more susceptible to falling.

I remember reading this but can’t find the exact study.

Pommy bastard 1:16 pm 04 Mar 09

You should consider yourselves blessed with these trees, they are very beautiful.

Granny 1:14 pm 04 Mar 09

I think it also gets to a point where there’s an element of risk in life, even just getting in your car to drive down to the local shops.

dexi 1:11 pm 04 Mar 09

“As Canberra gets older and the eucalypts get bigger is this something we need to get serious about?”

No. You just need to look after them. This would be true for all large trees in public places. They fall down if allowed to rot or if Mother Nature gives them a helping hand.

p1 1:11 pm 04 Mar 09

Plus, because there is an obesity epidemic, the drop bears are fatter then normal, thus overloading the trees.

Gobbo 1:11 pm 04 Mar 09

I would have voted for “encouraged and monitored”. But there is no option for me.

p1 1:10 pm 04 Mar 09

Does extreme and prolonged heat, as recently experienced in town, make gums more fragile?

Yes. When they get stressed they do tend to drop off branches.

Kramer 1:09 pm 04 Mar 09

Australia. Home to most of the world’s most deadly snakes, spiders, and sharks (who have been putting on a good show of late). Eucalyptus trees Vs snakes Vs spiders Vs sharks – I’ll take the trees any day.

New Yeah 1:08 pm 04 Mar 09

I live in a 50 year old suburb that has many large apple box gumtrees and it is amazing how often large limbs fall down.

As long as people are sensible and don’t have branches too close to their homes and pay attention to branches that they are sitting under if having a picnic, then I see no problem.

Does extreme and prolonged heat, as recently experienced in town, make gums more fragile?

Granny 12:58 pm 04 Mar 09

I really don’t know what the answer to this one is.

Driving along a rural road in Victoria once, a huge branch only just missed the car in front of us. The shocked driver pulled over and some locals told him it happens quite frequently. As we continued driving, we noticed the number of fallen branches littering the road with a heightened awareness.

I just adore trees of all kinds and hate to see them removed, but a Canberra without gum trees is especially hard to imagine.

Then again, I am still traumatised by Judy’s tragic end in Seven Little Australians.

miz 12:58 pm 04 Mar 09

When I say ‘newer’ I mean, as opposed to inner north and inner south which have a lot of deciduous.

miz 12:57 pm 04 Mar 09

Gums are useless shade trees. Gums in parks need to be replaced with decent deciduous shade trees (particularly in the newer suburbs where gums were planted prolifically). It will make a big difference to park usage – a number of smaller suburban parks near me (tuggeranong) are so hot and weed infested you rarely see anyone there.

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