Our river red gum ended March with a bang – literally! The topmost slender vertical branch came crashing down through the tree at 10 am on a cool Saturday morning in a light breeze. We came home to find that the falling branch had brought down the street telephone line and broken a pale in our picket fence. This was totally unexpected, as there did not seem to be any reason for a branch to fall in those weather conditions, and certainly not a vertical branch. It would be more likely for a horizontal branch to fall on a hot still summer’s day.
The debris included masses of young buds and mature fruit which opened as soon as they fell from the tree, leaving a carpet of seeds on the ground. This confirmed the dual crop cycle already observed on the tree, its healthy growth and high volume of seed production.
Why the branch broke and fell remains a mystery – maybe it was weakened when a koala climbed up to the top for a few days back in November 2014. It is not even obvious where the branch fell from, masked by the healthy canopy of the rest of the tree. At least there were no pedestrians on the footpath when the branch fell. The red gum is unaffected by the loss of a relatively small part of its canopy, and is still carrying strong fruit and bud crops.