Friday, 23 March 2012

They have to go. The gum trees that is!

Some years back I had a lovely old property in Bridgetown that had a jarrah-weatherboard house, beautiful old camellias and a magnificent Lemon-scented Gum, Coyrymbia citriodora.
The tree had many seedlings and was a favourite feeding tree for the red-tailed Black Cockatoo.
This old Lemon-scented Gum was
twisted into unusual shapes and was
a fine tree, though it did drop bark in
summer and plenty of inflammable leaves

I planted three seedlings of this tree at my present property in Balingup and they have grown very well in three to four years.

Now I realise they will only grow much bigger and have the potential with their bark and leaf fall in summer to add to the fuel hazard around the garden.  I don't have the time to spend raking and mowing the leaves to stop them building up, so we had to make a decision as to whether to have a continuing maintenance problem or take them out whilst we still can.

To have a professional tree feller come and remove the trees when they have grown more can cost thousands of dollars, so the decision is to take them out.

With new rules being applied in some Shires about a 20 m Circle of Safety or the Building Protection Zone that should apply around houses and sheds, it makes sense to act earlier rather than later and reduce the fire hazard on our properties by removing these trees.
(1) The lemon-scented gum has branches
removed first and then the bare trunk will
be cut down with a chain saw.

The essential feature of these zones is to remove inflammable material from these areas from the ground and to keep trees that are near the house or sheds at least 10 m apart.  The 10 m being from the outside of the canopy to the next.  Trees with volatile oils in their leaves need to be carefully placed, trimmed back or removed altogether for improved safety.  Trees if kept are to be pruned up at least to 2 m.

(2) The Gum tree has had the last of the
branches removed ready for the chain saw.
The tree on the left is an English Elm which
is deciduous and on the right is a poplar
which tends to dampen down fires though
they will get scorched.

There is still debate about the role of deciduous trees which may provide a screening effect and if kept moist and without dead material held in their branches can take the heat out of a fire.

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We'd like your tips as to how you have made your garden safer from bush fires.