Drought stress has caused dieback in Eucalypt trees, which have begun to sprout again following rain.

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Comments (4)

Marilyn Whiteley on November 15, 2007

I was so taken by the bark picture that I hadn't studied this. Are they sprouting from near the base?

Ian Stehbens on November 15, 2007

Yes Marilyn, they are. I don't know enough about them, for they are on the grounds of the Kings School, therefore I don't see them regularly and haven't talked to the ground staff about them. It is odd that the drought has affected them, for I would have imagined that such a mature stand had survived Australian droughts before, and that they would have been very deep rooted and therefore been able to draw on sufficient ground water from the sandstone. So I took the photo as much out of curiosity, whilst being attracted to the simple beauty of the repetition.

Ian Stehbens on February 11, 2009

Further to the above, Marilyn, I have since learnt that it has been a classic case of dieback, which is a combination of drought stress, leading to and allowing insect infestation. The suckering at the base indicates the trees are attempting to recover through these basal epicormic sprouts.

Richard Ryer has just told me of the wipe out of the pine forests in Colorado by bark beetles! I find it hard to accept that such magnificent beauty can be so rapidly transformed.

Ian

Richard Ryer on February 12, 2009

Greetings Ian, It looks as though your trees recover from the base. Maybe they will grow faster than our pine trees. The beetle kill in Colorado is a natural phenomenon. Unfortunately, our forest management program created huge old growth forests with overcrowding trees, weakened in competition for light and moisture. Our rainfall is also less. This combines to put a huge amount of stress on the trees and their ability to defend themselves is reduced. In a healthy tree the beetle will chew into the bark and the tree pitch will push it back out and seal the hole. In the weakened tree the beetle and larvae have full access and girdle the tree. I don't know if you ever made it over to Dillon and Frisco while you were visiting, but there are only a few live trees left. The Park is about 30% dead judging from the last time I flew over it. Things will look different in a few years, and my children will be very old when they get to see a new forest in the Rocky Mountains. That is nature and there is little we can do about it (beetle kill).

Cheers,

Rich

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Photo taken in The King's School Senior Campus, Windeyer Road, North Parramatta NSW 2151, Australia

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  • Uploaded on November 11, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens

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