The Heat is On
Updated: Jan 25
It is a most helpless feeling as many of us watched bushfires rage through Port Macquarie and the surrounding Mid North Coast regions. Safety measures were immediately put in place such as evacuating people and temporarily closing schools. Businesses also had to close and services were disrupted during the fires. We did everything we could do to keep as many people as possible safe. It was also a most searing pain to see nature being razed to the ground and to see wildlife trapped and unable to escape.
This summer, we mourn the loss of much of Mother Nature in Australia.
What can we do in the aftermath of this tragedy?
It is important to take vital steps to clean up the damage and salvage what we can to help the native vegetation regenerate as best as it can.
Dealing with hazardous trees: The aftermath of bushfires
If you own a property with trees and native vegetation that have been affected by the bushfires, we recommend you speak with a professional arborist to gauge the damage and decide what needs to be done next. At Accomplished Tree Management, we provide hazard assessment services to help you decide if it is really necessary and healthy for the vegetation to be cleared completely, and how to do it without incurring further damage to the vegetation. Even if a tree is considered to be a risk to people or property, the activity should be undertaken by a professional, and we do not recommend mindless clearing of the entire area affected. We need to consider if there are opportunities for the native vegetation to regrow, in which case we should leave those areas alone. Some areas can be thinned down to encourage renewal and again this requires an experienced eye to distinguish. Property owners should also take note that just because there has been a bushfire, it does not mean the law no longer applies. There are legal requirements regarding when a tree can be removed, so it is best to check with the professionals to avoid a costly mistake.
Points to consider when taking care of your trees after the bushfires:
Can I throw away the fallen bits on the ground? If you have fallen parts of a tree on the ground, these can be removed.
Do I have to remove every single tree completely? In some cases, instead of removing the entire tree, it is permitted to remove only the parts that have been damaged.
Is a tree completely dead? A tree may look burnt but it can still be alive. It is still protected by the law. An untrained eye cannot tell if a badly damaged tree is alive or not. Accomplished Tree Management provides consultancy services prior to tree removal. Speak to us to be really sure so you do not unwittingly murder a tree that is trying its best to stay alive.
Can I leave the land alone and hope it can recuperate on its own? A professional arborist can tell you whether the tree in question is able to naturally regenerate or not. Trees may need several months to regenerate. Some species of trees have amazing survival instincts to help them survive something as devastating as a fire.
Speak to us to help you make a secure, informed decision before you impose a death sentence on a tree.
Most of the land is already so burnt, can I burn it completely to clear the land? Some people may have the misconception that burning an already burnt area is the way to clear the land. It is actually a requirement on the part of property owners to allow the land to regrow. Always check with your local council regarding the legal requirements.
Summer is on us, and while we are still reeling from the bushfire tragedies, our trees are getting all hot and bothered. Here are three simple tips to help you understand what your tree needs during the hot weather:
Be generous with mulch.
It is like giving your trees a luxurious face mask treatment. It keeps the soil cool in summer and helps to retain moisture for a longer period of time.
Give your trees a good soak.
If you are planning to be away, give your trees a long, deep watering before you leave. Make sure the soil is thoroughly wet. Fruit trees like to be soaked overnight (just leave your hose dripping). By the time morning comes, they are sufficiently saturated. Soaker hoses are an efficient way to water trees. Make a dripline in a circle around the tree and let the water run. It needs to extend to a depth of at least six inches. A good long soak once a week is better than a casual watering every day. When trees learn that water only exists near the surface, they start growing roots that hover above. This gives the tree a weak base. If you do deep watering, the tree knows it needs to grow strong deep roots to get to the water and this helps to give it stability and also, deeper roots are more drought-resistant. Another thing to note is to set your watering systems to early morning or late evening when it is not so hot to prevent excessive and unnecessary loss of water through evaporation.
Know the signs.
Learn to read your tree's body language. That is what we do best as arborists and trust us, our trees are always trying their best to communicate with us. But we may not understand what they are trying to convey. If you see your trees losing shine on their leaves, or if the colours are changing and they are going funny and curling up at the edges and even falling off, this is not a case of ´my tree thinks it's autumn´. It is a sign of stress. It is your tree's SOS to you. Trees can suffer drought stress. If this is not dealt with early, the tree may be subject to insect and disease infestation. If your tree is really looking poorly, we recommend you get an arborist to take a look at it. The final verdict may involve removing the tree (remember to check the legal conditions) and that may well be a healthier option in the long run as a diseased tree can affect others around them.
Trees are generous with giving and they ask for nothing in return.
Australia has seen increasingly difficult periods of dry weather year after year. Climate change is undeniable. As humans, we can be generous in return and care for our trees correctly, and reduce the damage caused when natural catastrophes occur and support nature as it regenerates itself.
Accomplished Tree Management provides tree services in the Port Macquarie area and we are well-versed in the language of trees. Our job involves a lot of respect for nature and we want to do our best to protect it. Trees matter - it is an important part of our job to share our experience and knowledge in caring for these gentle giants.
Speak to us if your area has been affected by the recent bushfires. Call 0411 443 535.
"The Heat is On" is written by Vermilion Pinstripes, a modern digital marketing firm based in Port Macquarie, Sydney and Melbourne Australia and Singapore helping businesses engage better with customers so they can sell without selling.