I follow a really nice blog called Loose and Leafy.
It’s all about the description and photographs of trees and hedges and other beautiful plants in the Dorset region.
Unbeknown to me the creative blogger, called Lucy, also documents and studies trees throughout the year in the shape of a blogging challenge called Tree Following.
Of course knowing my love of trees, how could I resist to take on this challenge? Impossible!
The challenge as described on the Loose and Leafy blog starts as follows:
Each year, I choose a tree and see what it does:
when its leaves appear and when they fall
which twigs grow and which fall off
if it has seeds
and if any germinate and grow into new trees
what its bark looks like – when it’s wet and when it’s dry
whether anything grows on it – like lichen
whether creatures sit on – insects, birds, butterflies
what plants grow round it and what they do too.
And I invite others to join me – to choose a tree and to ‘follow’ it.
So with all that in mind I had a good think about which tree I should follow. It needed to be one I could track easily, so within walking distance. It needed to be I could access for studying and I also thought that perhaps it needed to be one pertinent to me and my life.
While I must see a good few trees on walks with Mouse it quickly became obvious that the tree most pertinent to me is in fact sat tall in our garden already. So without further ado, I introduce to you today –
the Eucalyptus Gunii.
This tree has been in our garden for about 7 years now. It started off a little scrap of a thing looking all forlorn at a garden centre for £2.99 and I just had to have it. Back then it was no higher than 20cms.
I put it in a pot and watched it grow, and grow, and fall over and grow and fall over…well you get the idea. Basically it was growing quicker than the space in the pot allowed so one day I took the plunge and decided to plant it at the end of the garden where it could “do it’s thing…”
Five years on from that and I would say it’s nearing a height of about 20 meters and adding about a meter a year.
Although it gets battered by winds from all directions it’s still looking strong and appears to bend to the gusts that whip it backwards and forwards.
The bark is rather ragged, as you can see above, but the higher the trunk the more cream it becomes.
There is just one rather odd problem with the tree…for the last few years it’s been throwing off a lot of it’s leaves round about now, until the end of May which is fine until you actually see the leaves:
They all appear to have blotches and raised marks upon the leaves.
Apparently this could be one of two issues. It could be suffering from odema which means its taking up more water in the roots than the leaves can expire.
After all the rain we’ve had I’d not be surprised if it was having problems filtering the water but it only ever happens at this time of year and gets excessively bad before it seems to shake what ever it may be and carries on again.
The second problem it might have is more of an issue. Something which looks very like odema but is created by a tiny grub called the Eucalyptus gall wasp. The wasp causes the leaves to fall off. Unfortunately there is no control for large trees.
So I’ll be keeping a close eye to see if I can discover which problem it’s found itself in.
In the meantime I’ll carry on admiring the tall slender tree that makes a lovely rustling sound when a summer breeze passes through the garden.
it is amazing how quickly Eucalyptus trees grow.I grew one from seed years ago and left it too long in the pot. Once they get root-bound they never seem to learn to put their roots down and so they are subject to wind rock. I solved the problem by keeping it coppiced. It is a shame to do this because you sacrifice the wonderful bark. On the other hand I love the little round juvenile leaves which look quite different from the elliptical mature ones..
I hope you solve your blotchy leaf problem. it is a wonderful tree to follow.
Thanks. It certainly is a big tree now. The round juvenile leaves are really pretty, I like those too. I think depending on the circumstances coppicing is the only way to go. No luck on the leaf issue yet but I’ll keep you posted 🙂
I am loving finding out which Tree everyone has chosen. Perhaps next year we could submit our tree choice, Lucy could mix them all up and we could play ‘match the Tree to the blogger’! We have a shedding eucalyptus and In my innocents thought it was the wind. Let’s hope they are both water problems.
It’s a great blogging theme isn’t it? Unfortunately because Lucy is on blogger I find it hard to comment from a WP blog.
How big is your eucalyptus tree? If I find out any more information I’ll post it up. Thanks for reading 🙂
I’m not very good on heights but I would imagine 7m high or maybe more. Would be glad for more info. Have you tried listening to your tree yet? If you put your ear to the trunk you can hear the water being sucked upwards. Give it a go! I will find my blog about it and send you a link.
I haven’t listened to the tree but I’m very intrigued to! I shall be trying that out this weekend for sure. And thank you for the link, it’s been really interesting reading. 🙂
I hope you will be able to get this magnificent healed.
So do I. Once I’ve worked out what it is – I’ll post it up 🙂
Here you are – http://ontheedgegardening.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/listen-to-the-trees/ hope that works!
Hi Sophie, really pleased to have found your blog and have enjoyed reading a little way back. I totally fell for the eucalyptus in the Cambridge Botanic Gardens, such wonderful bark, really tactile. I’ve yet to post my choice for tree following, having missed the first deadline but will be joining everyone on the 7th next month!
That is a real-fast-grower of a tree! Do the leaves smell good as well as fall off? Fascinating to read the discussion about hearing the water rise. I wonder if there’s any chance of recording it? probably not but wouldn’t that be good for the rest of us to hear!
Clearly I hope your tree isn’t being troubles by gall wasps but, if it is, seeing the grubs will be interesting. (Hope that isn’t tempting fate.)
Don’t worry about not commenting on Loose and Leafy. Of course it would be good if you could but the important thing is that you are joining in. I’ve added your choice of tree to your name and blog in the tree following list. http://tinyurl.com/bv6pzt5 Soon I’ll be going through adding the countries / states where people are blogging from.
Looking forward to updates on the 7th.
Thanks Lucy, great to be a part of a Tree community.
The leaves do smell good but not once they have fallen off 😉
Will post again on the 7th!
Oh, apologies. The eucalyptus was already in the list. For some reason I’d added you twice. One with the eucalyptus, one without. Have corrected!