Thursday, August 11, 2016

Twin peaks

So I finally got that communal virus going around the family. You know how it is. Unfortunately, all those fun projects we were doing outside, suddenly came to a halt. All but one, that is.

We booked a date for some tree loppers to visit yesterday. It was a little overdue, which is a habit we tend to get in to, with our trees. We really value their shade. On the other hand, it then requires the experts to remove something of a monolith. Or in this case, two.

Last morning light

You can see them in the centre, standing side by side. They are hardwood, Spotted gums, and have been here longer than us. They provided shade even as young trees, on our dry creek bed. Hardly any vegetation was growing down in our lower gully, back then, so we wanted them to stay.

As larger trees, they even survived the 2011 Queensland floods. Receiving the full torrent of water, coming down from our slopes - they held the soil together with their indomitable roots. All manner of debris was wrapped around their trunks, afterwards. We have a lot to thank those trees for. Shade, soil protection and plenty of good memories, hanging out, under the trees.

Many years growth

But then, they grew too big for their location. Their wonderful canopy was starting to block our solar panels (hot water and power) and with every year they grew taller, they were becoming a liability to the house, should they decide to fall over. Which eucalyptus trees, are known to do.

So that is why we called the tree loppers. Logically, it makes sense, but then you can't help but mourn a little afterwards, too.

Both trees

Seeing them laid out like that, knowing how awesome they were as trees, made us feel like a couple of bad guys. Unlike the casurina tree we took down recently, these were much larger, and there's something magical about growing older (and watching your kids too) under the shade of the same trees. I don't think having the virus helped, as we couldn't get to work straight way, putting them to rest, properly. 

When we get our strength back, they will become edging to hold back the soil, making low retaining walls, with their trunks. Where they'll become food for the termites and all manner of insects and soil microbes.


So they will continue in our landscape, but in a slightly different way. From towering trees, to microscopic life, inside the soil. I was reminded of this, when I glanced upon the sawdust, sprinkled across their trunk.

It will take some time, and quite a few growing seasons, for that much carbon to transform into soil. But it's a resource in our landscape all the same. So we look forward to using it.

We really are fortunate to have so many trees, spring up naturally. But then you have to strive for some kind of balance too. We're always trying to work on that. Which is why we have our eye on some smaller trees, around the house, which need to come out too. Before they become monoliths. The aim is to replace them with equally hardy, but naturally smaller, in stature, trees.

I'm thinking macadamia nut trees, and some diciduous ones, to add fertility to the soil at leaf drop. It should add more diversity to the environment, with the remnants of these twin trees, to get them off to a good start.


  1. We have three macadamia nut trees, Chris and they are great in summer but are growing on the side we have the solar panels on so might have to have a trim. It is not cheap to have large trees cut down is it? A neighbour paid an awful lot to have a tree cut down recently and I was quite surprised. I hope you all feel much better soon.

    1. Not cheap to get removed, but we also consider the cooling costs they've saved us, over the years too. Which is why we're reluctant to remove trees in the first place. These two cost us $770, which is $385 per tree. We paid for a larger tree to be removed, about nine years ago, and it cost us $400, then. So we were happy with the value, this time around. They even did a better job, cutting it into 1 metre lengths.

      I suspect if you don't live on acreage, it costs more to have trees removed. I recall my mum had two large trees coppiced (so not even fully removed) for around $1000, several years back. She lived on 1/2 an acre, and one of the trees was very close to a boundary fence.

      When there's more risk in limited space, they have to use more equipment and take more time, bringing them down. They fact they can just drop a tree here, cut it up, not have to cart it away or grind a stump, is probably what makes our prices, a lot cheaper.

      Thanks for letting me know your experience with growing macadamia. We live on a slope, so planting them down hill, will mean they come nowhere near our solar panels. I love the thought of not having to prune! But it's great to know they're living where you are.

  2. I'm sorry to hear your unwell, I hope your in the men's soon!

    It's hard to cut big trees down isn't it? Always sad. But comforting to know they will go to good use.


    1. Getting better every day, Emma, but then I don't want to get cocky and get straight back into hard work, either, in case I don't let it heal properly. I've noticed a couple of straight days, long bed rest, has helped enormously. It took David a week to get over it, and I'm hoping to do the same. :)

      It is hard to take down the big trees - or edible ones. They're so majestic and highly useful to the landscape, and to people. My consolation, is getting to plant a more diverse collection of plants in their place. :)

  3. I feel the same, when I have to have big trees cut down, but protecting the house is paramount and nature will take them down eventually. If they're eucalypts, which they always are here, they usually send up several coppice shoots and I let them grow until they're of a size that I can cut down (3-4" diameter) then cut them down and get some useful small firewood and leaf mulch. They give up coppicing eventually but at least I've got some resources out of them.

    1. That's the thing, isn't it, the integrity of the house comes first. Our eucalyptus, tend to naturally coppice too. They are a great resource for firewood. We'd be putting our coppice trees to the same use, if we actually had our fireplace installed.

      It's good that you can make use of them like that though. At the rate the bush throws up new seedlings, it's a sustainable resource for heating in winter. :)

  4. Ah - the communal virus.....this usually finds me running around with my eucalyptus oil swiping door handles and light switches all OCD like. Bringing a tree down always compromises some part of one's equilibrium no matter how good the cognitive logic. I hear ya.

    1. The eucalyptus oil, sounds like a great idea. I love that stuff anyway. I polish my wooden furniture with it. Smells so yummy! Although, I probably caught mine through hugs.

      It's funny, because I went a week, while my husband had it and then when both my kids came down with it, that's when I did! Because I give plenty of hugs to sick kids and they always end up coughing in my face, lol.


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