Sunday, March 3, 2024

Mountain Grey Gum

The Mountain Grey Gum, Eucalyptus cypellocarpa, is a classic ‘Gippsland euc’. It usually grows tall and straight to a height of 40+ metres.

Map credit: vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au

The smooth trunks of grey shredding bark are typical but perhaps the best identifying features are the long, lance-shaped leaves and flattened stalks holding the buds/flowers/fruit.

Some of the streets and parks of Drouin are graced with this magnificent tree and the many hollows that some have are a haven for much of our urban wildlife.

This giant in Hearn Park is a classic Mountain Grey Gum

You can vote for Drouin’s favourite eucalypt by email: drouinsfavouritetree@gmail.com The five candidates are (click the links for further information) …

Tree 1 - The Settlement Giant (Mountain Grey Gum) on the corner of Settlement Rd and Springwater Dr.

Tree 2 – The Grandfather Tree (Messmate Stringybark) above the playground in Civic Park.

Tree 3 – The Railway Giant (Mountain Grey Gum) on the corner of Albert Rd and Francis Ave.

Tree 4 – The Old Swimming Hole Giant (Strzelecki Gum) in Lampard Rd opposite the hockey field.

Tree 5 – The Ficifolia corridor in Princes Way between Albert Rd and Main Neerim Rd.

 

Monday, February 26, 2024

National Eucalypt Day

National Eucalypt Day is held annually on March 23rd. The date is the birth date of Bjarne Klaus Dahl, the benefactor of Eucalypt Australia, a charitable trust that supports the conservation of, and research into eucalypts. 

The theme this year is “Celebrating our urban champions”. 

The Friends of Drouin’s Trees is conducting a vote for Drouin’s favourite eucalypt. Drouin is blessed with so many wonderful eucalypts, it was decided to suggest five of the best.
 
You can vote 1-5 or just nominate your favourite by emailing drouinsfavouritetree@gmail.com 

Tree 1 - The Settlement Giant on the corner of Settlement Rd and Springwater Dr. The Settlement Giant is a huge Mountain Grey Gum with a girth of 12.5m and is listed in Australia’s National Register of Big Trees. Historically there was an abattoir in the vicinity and it is remembered that the animals would often shelter in the shade of the tree. The Settlement Giant pre-dates European settlement and is estimated to be 200+ years old. 

Tree 2 – The Grandfather Tree in Civic Park. The Grandfather Tree is a very old Messmate Stringybark full hollows for wildlife. It is located above the playground in Civic Park, clearly visible as you walk on that section of the Two Towns Trail. Recently storm damaged but still standing! 

 Tree 3 – The Railway Giant on the corner of Albert Rd and Francis Ave. Another Mountain Grey Gum, the Railway Giant is beside the railway line in Francis Ave. One wonders at how many train travelers have mused in awe as they approach or depart Drouin station. The tree dominates the view to the south from Albert Rd. 

Tree 4 – The Old Swimming Hole Giant in Lampard Rd This sentinel giant is a Strzelecki Gum, a rare and threatened species that is endemic to parts of West and South Gippsland. The FoDT does a regular working bee in this vicinity and we always pay tribute to this magnificent tree. 

Tree 5 – The Ficifolia Corridor in Princes Way between Albert Rd and Main Neerim Rd. How stunning have these been recently? Corymbia is a sub-genus of Eucalyptus. Ficifolias are a very popular urban tree and now cultivated world-wide. The species is endemic to a small patch of south-west Western 
Australia. 

 A reminder – you can vote 1–5 for your favourite Drouin euc at drouinsfavouritetree@gmail.com 

 On National Eucalypt Day, 23rd March, The Friends of Drouin’s Trees will announce the winner at a small event at Alex Goudie Park, 10 am. Please come along and help us celebrate Drouin’s wonderful urban eucalypts – walks and talks, plantings, ‘door prizes’, etc.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Dealing with stormwater

Stormwater is an asset often regarded as a nuisance. As recent events around the country point out, stormwater in sudden large amounts is a considerable problem in some localities.

Stormwater is defined as rain water that falls to the ground. When rain hits our impervious rooftops, footpaths, road surfaces, car parks, etc. it is normally channeled away through a drainage system that often ends up in our natural waterways.  Any sediments and pollutants picked up on the way will end up in our creeks, streams and wetlands.

By passing directly through drains, the stormwater hasn’t soaked into the soil where it would recharge local groundwater sources and contribute to maintaining a healthy soil biota; the micro-organisms, animals and plants that exist in the soil.

Lost down the drain

Retarding basins are often constructed to help minimize the risk of flooding during heavy rain periods. A retarding basin may simply be a low area of land that for most of the time is just covered in grass or it may be a properly constructed wetland that contains some water 100% of the time and is a biodiversity hotspot.

Froggy Hollow retarding basin Civic Park Drouin

Individually, we can help mitigate the effects of large stormwater run-off events by ensuring our own properties are as permeable as we can make them: plant more plants to soak up the water, replace concrete patios and footpaths with flagstones or a more permeable material (gravel, mulch, permeable concrete or asphalt, etc.), swap lawn for native plants, incorporate trenches into a sloping garden design, construct a ‘rain’ garden, etc.

A few enlightened local governments are exploring various engineering strategies to better deal with stormwater runoff. Street trees in high pedestrian areas are planted with a surround of permeable material that allows stormwater to soak into the root zone but is safe for pedestrians to negotiate. Roadside gutters are constructed with ‘breaks’ to allow the water to soak into the root zones of the trees on the roadside. Rain gardens are built between the footpath and the road – much more efficient at absorbing water than grass ‘nature strips’.

Permeable street tree treatment Moe

Roof gardens, ‘green’ parking lots, increased tree canopy are further examples of green infrastructure that are practical ways of efficiently dealing with increased stormwater run-off that will come with predicted heavier and more frequent rain events. By relying on plants, soil, and natural systems to manage rainfall runoff, green infrastructure tackles urban stormwater issues and boosts climate resilience.