Saturday, May 13, 2006

Old Eucalypyts

The light was great on the day I took this photo.

Well I'm back after a bit of a blogging hiatus. Just reading Peter's blog and he makes this observation.

The stretch of 7th St. in Santa Monica, between San Vicente and Montana, has always been home to a long line of giant eucalyptus trees. They provide shade and a wonderful, refreshing smell, also creating a cathedral like cover of the street. I have often relished walking along them on my way to the shops and local theatre (nobody walks in LA). They are prone to dropping branches, and in fear of liability, the powers that be are going to remove them in the coming weeks.

Ever since watching the town I grew up in (outside of Boston), that was simply covered from one end to the other with giant old elm trees in my youth, become a barren "Orange County" in the matter of ten years of Dutch Elm disease, I am very sensitive to losing trees, and most particularly large old ones.

The Eucalypt is native down here, many were introduced to California due to the similarities in climate and their fast growth rate. Thing is California now has some of the Eucalypts particular problems such as the falling branch issue that Peter mentions and wildfires (bushfires). These trees sometimes NEED a fire for their seeds to propogate, their oil fuels the fires at the crown level and their leaves and bark acts as an effective fire medium on the forest floor. The ash forms an alkaline medium for the newly germinated seeds a place to grow. New shoots are sprouting out of burnt trees within a week.

This phenonema of branches falling down is one that is sometimes taken pretty seriously downunder. There is a rule .....DON'T PITCH TENTS UNDER EUCALYPTS which is sometimes forgotten. The result, some city kids killed or injured as a branch falls on top of a school camp tent. I regularly hear the crash in the Eucalypt forest in front of my house as another branch decides it is time to let gravity take a hand in matter. The reason? The branches drop off as a result of it being dry, the tree sacrifices a branch in the name of staying alive.

The ghost gum had a reputation as "The widow maker" with old loggers. Blokes on their stands chopping down trees would have a branch falling on top of them when their axes caused enough movement to dislodge a loose branch. Nature's revenge, I suppose.


  • It is good to have a native voice on this. I think of trees as living things, witness'. The chopping and sawing of god's ancient work makes me nervous. Best to avoid the falling trees (or falling from trees ala Mssr Richards, a topic of discussion in this Parisian diner this morning).

    I could not imagine the jet-lag, Oz to Europe.

    By Blogger Peter (the other), at 5:49 pm  

  • The Europe to Oz jet lag SUCKS and I mean really, really SUCKS. I'm useless for about three days, sometimes longer.

    Doesn't help that I find it difficult to sleep on planes.

    By Blogger Johnno, at 6:12 am  

  • I only pretend to sleep on planes. Which reminds me of how I conduct (musicians). I make an agreement with the musicians that I will pretend to conduct, and they will pretend to follow me, usually works out well enough for all concerned

    By Blogger Peter (the other), at 7:17 pm  

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