Diary of a Red Gum – August & September 2015

Stormy and windy winter weather continued into August, causing a constant rain of debris from the red gum in our street. The fallen material included small branches and twigs, with green mature buds, green-brown mature fruit still holding seed, and woody brown open fruit that had dropped its seed as soon as it parted from the tree. The debris formed a dense carpet, with hard round fruits the size of small peas finding their way into every nook and cranny along the footpath and also annoyingly spreading into the house and cars. The buds were lost, never to develop into flowers, while the fruits opened and shed their seeds, but no seedlings appeared in the cracks in the paving or in the garden, so it seems the ants got the seeds for food.

Closed mature fruit broken off the red gum, ready to open and shed seed

Closed mature fruit broken off the red gum, ready to open and shed seed

Fruit with open valves has already shed its seed after falling from the red gum

Fruit with open valves has already shed its seed after falling from the red gum


The peace of emerging spring was shattered by a vicious hail storm in mid- September, which brought hailstones the size of marbles. In just 30 minutes, it shredded foliage on the red gum and every other plant in the garden. The pelting hailstones stripped buds, bark and fruit from the red gum, and mounds of hail lay in frozen clumps in the chilled garden overnight.
After the hailstorm, the road was awash with leaves, buds, twigs, fruit and bark battered off the red gum by hail stones

After the hailstorm, the road was awash with leaves, buds, twigs, fruit and bark battered off the red gum by hail stones

The rate of loss of buds and fruit is highly significant, reducing the potential volume of seed which will be ready for release from the tree in November. How much will survive and will there be any seedlings?

The water receded, leaving a strandline of debris, with leaves, buds and fruits

the water receded, leaving a strandline of debris, with leaves, buds and fruits

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About redgumgirl

Dr Anne Jensen is an environmental consultant with a passionate interest in sustainable management of our natural resources, particularly the River Murray and wetland environments. She is particularly interested in using photographs and stories to explain issues around water and protecting natural ecosystems in terms that are understood by the wider community, so that we can manage our environment sustainably for our common future.
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