Aug 24, 2011

Mistletoe Regrowth

Amyema lucasii
We were distressed to find, last summer, that some person unknown had been ripping the Lucas Mistletoe off our beautiful Leopard Ash tree. Various theories were propounded: that it was an piece of ordinary mindless vandalism; that it was the act of a “do-gooder” who believed that he or she was actually helping the tree; and that it was a case of theft by some greedy person who wanted the wood for wood-turning, and saw no reason not to steal public property.
Whatever the cause, it left a large branch looking bare and ugly, as it has no other leaf growth than that of mistletoes.

So it’s a relief to see it regrowing. We can expect the mistletoe to behave like any other plant after a severe pruning. It may miss flowering this season, but will be refreshed and look more beautiful than ever.

It has also been rather interesting to discover that the branch itself is still alive, despite the absence of any of its own leaves.
Meanwhile, the rest of the tree is demonstrating the ability that trees have, of killing off mistletoes when under stress. You will notice that it is carrying quite a few dead mistletoes. They were probably been killed off as the tree closed down the water supply to its smaller branches, something that all drought-hardy trees can do whenever they are stressed for lack of water.
I may be wrong, though. Mistletoes have a short life-span compared to that of trees like this one, and they may simply have reached their use-by date.
We have been noticing that this tree carried a rather heavy load of mistletoes, and wondering whether they were stressing the tree during the long drought. It seems we don’t have to worry, as Nature has taken care of the problem. We will probably see renewed vigour in the canopy as a result, and may be able to look forward to a beautiful flowering season this October.
Trish Gardner

Aug 1, 2011

National Tree Day

We had a great day on Sunday at Peacehaven's National Tree Day Celebrations. Peter Bright and Gary Alcorn did the lion's share of the setting up, and Gary and I spent all morning on the stall, talking to interested people.

Gary got more pamphlets printed up for us. We were so busy that it was difficult to grab a chance to look at the other displays. They were an interesting lot, and included including a dozen or so animals (echidnas, blue-tongue lizard, wallabies, and a sugar glider) from Trish Leehong's animal refuge.

We were joined for a while by Dougal Johnston, and you may see a photo of the three of us, in the Highfields Herald, holding an appalling cats claw root (not one of ours) which Steve Plant brought along for us to show off to the public.

Peter Hardwicke, editor of the Chronicle, was there, and says he will send someone out to one of our working bees to do a story on the scrub.

Kym Campbell, from Toowoomba Landcare, asked me whether we would be interested in having some trainee volunteers to work there. It sounded like a good idea, so we may get a bit of help from them.

We also had a good talk to Kerry Shine, who was particularly interested in the scrub's value as part of our social history (representing the original vegetation type cleared by the early settlers in Toowoomba and Highfields). He asked whether we had told the Toowoomba Historical Society about it - we have passed this message on.

Several people showed an interest in joining our working bees, and have been added to our emailing list. We look forward to seeing you on the last Wednesday in August!

Trish Gardner.