Real World Gardener Why Trees Fail in Design Elements

April 3rd, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Why Trees Fail/Fall?

When a large, mature falls in your garden, it can be very disheartening, especially if it’s a special or favourite tree.

Glenice%2527s%2BKurrajong.jpg
Kurrajong tree photo Glenice Buck

You may be left wondering what happened to cause it to fail after 20 or 30 years. 

Sometimes it’s obvious why a tree may fall in your garden, but what are the underlying factors? 
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer. 

www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 
Let’s find out . 

PLAY: Why Trees Fall_25th March 2020 
There are many reasons why trees fail or fall.

Irish%2BStrawberry%2Btree%2B10th%2BFeb%2

  • Trees need to be growing in well drained soil. 
  • If the soil holds onto too much moisture, this results in no oxygen in the soil, leading to tree roots rotting, making the tree unstable.
Trees will also fail or fall over in extreme weather events if they're susceptible.
Heavy rain inundation together with strong winds undermine the soil that the tree is growing in, particularly if the soil is shallow.
Glenice talks about the force of the wind, where the canopy of the tree acts like a lever, causing it to topple.
Sometimes the tree can be rescued by giving it a hard prune and winching it up, but that is the exception rather than the rule. 
  • Trees not planted correctly is another factor.
  • The planting hole needs to be wide enough so there there is enough room for the roots to spread . The hole should have more of vase shape, and loosen the soil so there is no soil 'glazing.'
  • Don't plant the tree too low in the ground.
  • If the tree is planted into a tight narrow space, not giving it enough room for the roots to develop to support the canopy.
If you want to know more or if you have any questions about why trees, fail, next week’s episode is about assessing trees for failure with Glenice. 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

Real World Gardener Australian Kauri Pine in Plant of the Week

March 28th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Kauri Pine: Agathis robusta-an Australian native

Over the last few weeks in this segment, we’ve been talking about big, big trees, and today’s offering is no exception. 

Kauri pine, like it's name states, is a conifer in the Araucariaceae family.
Also considered a dinosaur tree because it evolved millions of years ago when Australia was largely subtropical all over and not just in Queensland.

Kauri%2BPine.jpg
Kauri pine: Agathis robusta

So let’s find out more. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY: Agathis Robusta_11th March 2020 

Big trees in pots: 
  • The Kauri pine is quite happy in pots if you have limited space.
  • Just need to be root pruned every couple of years, but no more than 10% all round.
Being an ancient conifer it comes from an era when the world was much wetter and rainforest covered all of Australia.
The tree has  big wide, leathery leaves with parallel veins. Leaves are in opposite pairs and 5-12cm long. The bark is smoothish, grey or a sort of grey brown.

beautiful-foliage-branch-Kaurie%2Bpine.j
Leaves of kauri pine, no mid-rib.
The lower part of the trunk is free of branches, having dropped off as it grows.
The pine cones come in to shapes. Male cones are long and narrow, but female cones are rounded, 8-13cm in diameter.

Agathis%2Brobusta%2Bfemale%2Bcone.jpg
Agathis robuasta female cones

  • The Queensland Kauri is a little known but magnificent specimen, that dates back to the mid-Jurassic period.

Agathis or Qld Kauri can live for centuries, but did you know that they were logged for their straight timber too much so by 1922, the Forestry Branch reported: ‘Of kauri pine the southern resource is utterly gone.’ 

The wood was used to cabinetry, floorboards, kitchen sinks, and boat building during the 1920's and 30's. 
  • Geelong Botanic Gardens have an avenue of Kauri pine trees planted around the 1860's.
  • Sydney Botanic gardens have one large specimen not far from the kiosk and close to the giant Dragon's Blood tree.

If you want to hug these large mature trees, you'll find that the girth is massive and it's more likely that 4-5 people with arms outstretched might make it being 150cm or so in circumference.

If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Silky Oak is Plant of the Week

March 27th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Silky Oak: Grevillea robusta

Here’s a semi-deciduous grevillea, that can grow into a big tree. Flowering at the same time as Jacarandas and just as spectacular. 
When you see one, you don't think the Silky Oak as being a large tree. But here it is.

A bit messy, semi-deciduous, losing a lot of leaves from time to time. 
Grevilleas like this one are nectar rich, loved by the lorikeets. 

Grevillea_robusta_leaves_and_flowers_1.j

Apart from that drawback, the leaves are attractive with the added bonus is that the flowers are attractive to birds that come from all around the district to have a feast on the nectar of the flowers. 
So let’s find out more. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY:Silky Oak_4th March 2020 2020 

Silky%2BOak%2Btree.jpgThe silky oak flowers at the same time as Brachychiton querquifolia and Jacaranda mimosifolia, and there are some large gardens that have those big three. 
  • Brachychiton has the striking red flowers, contrasting with the purple of the Jacaranda and the golden yellow of the silky oak. 
So much nectar that on hot days, the nectar ferments, so the birds become intoxicated when sipping on the nectar, and become quite territorial.
When growing in pots, they take on the classical conifer type shape.
Remember Adrian's maxim, "spend a penny on the pot and a pound on the soil."
Very impressive to look at. 
The timber has a marbling dotty effect and is quite rot resistant should you come across this scarce resource.
The timber used to be used for frames around windows.
If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Plum Pines in Plant of the Week

March 5th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Podocarpus elatus: Plum Pine

 

Are you of the opinion that all pine trees have pine cones and needle like leaves?

Most gardeners associate pine trees with Christmas because after all, that’s a conifer. Right?

Wrong? 

Before the continents separated, there was a lot of rainforest over the earth and there was no need for trees or any plants to adapt to dry periods.

Needle like leaves are for conserving moisture after all.

So what did conifers look like millions of years ago? 

podocarpus%2Belatus.jpg

Podocarpus elatus:plum pine

 

So let’s find out.

I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

PLAY: :Plum pine_19th February 2020

The plum pine has been around for 250 million years back when the world was a big rainforest with plenty of rainfall.

No need for needle leaves to conserve water back then, but instead large leaves, and they do not have cones like the other conifers but instead have a single seed attached by a fleshy stem to the branch.

The purple fruit have a sort of plum like flavour and can be used for making sauces, jams and relishes.

  • Botanical Bite: Trees are dioecious, (different house), meaning the male and female flowers parts are on separate trees.

You would need to consider planting two or three of these trees together to ensure you get any fruit at all.

  • Be aware, when the pines do bear fruit, birds and flying foxes will come a calling and spit out the pips, leaving a purple stain on your nice paving. Best to not grow it near your driveway or paving.

Adrian had a plant in a pot, which does quite well with root pruning every few years. In the ground the tree will grow to 12 metres in its natural habitat, but a lot less in your backyard garden.

If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Featuring Frangipanis part 2

March 5th, 2020

Frangipanis and...

 

Some plants develop a following or have societies created around them, where fellow collectors swap cuttings, ideas and seeds of that particular genus. 

JJs%2BDesert%2BSunrise%2Bphoto%2BSusan%2
JJ's Desert Sunrise photo Susan Newie

Frangipanis are tropical trees are loved by many collectors, and funnily enough, these collectors are going for the darker coloured flowers, like the dark reds, or almost black flowers.

  • But it’s not only the colour of the flowers that drives collectors crazy, it’s the size of the flowers and how they lookEvery so often that present a show, usually annually or biannually to sell some of their plants to the public.

This is the time to pick up something rare and exciting that you will never find in a nursery, garden centre let alone a big box store, and it’s not to be missed. 
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Anthony Grassi, President of the Frangipani Society of Australia. 

Anthony, mentioned the Moragne hybrids. 
Bill Moragne is the father of Plumeria breeding.

Plumeria%2Bclassic.jpg
#27 

A professional horticulturist in Hawaii during the 1950’s he pioneered and perfected the cross breeding/hybridizing technique for frangipanis. 
His best hybrids set the standard years ago and they still do today.

  • Why Doesn't My frangipani flower?
Answer: 
  • It may be too young. 
When you first buy your frangipani plant, whether just a cutting or in a pot, it will most likely flower in the first year. The second year, it will put all its energy into growing strong roots and lengthening branches.
While it's still young, the stems will need a minimum of 2 years before the wood is ready again to produce buds and flower. The same applies, if you prune it.
 
  • After that, you may need to think about your fertilising regime.
Anthony recommends Sudden Impact for Roses, but following it up with a couple of applications of potash granules applied in spring and summer.
  • The third factor is, sunlight. 
Is your frangipani growing in full all day sun?
If it's not getting enough sun,  a minimum of 6 hours, it will resolutely fail to flower.
Not all the colour variations have strong perfume, but quite a few have flowers that are 10cm across, and imagine that amplified with a bunch of flowers,.
You end up with a cluster of flowers the size of a basketball.
Now that’s something to see.

Pink%2BOrange%2BPlumeria.jpg

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about where to get these amazing cultivars, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Featuring Frangipanis part 1

March 5th, 2020

Frangipanis and...

 

Some plants develop a following or have societies created around them, where fellow collectors swap cuttings, ideas and seeds of that particular genus. 

JJs%2BDesert%2BSunrise%2Bphoto%2BSusan%2
JJ's Desert Sunrise photo Susan Newie

Frangipanis are tropical trees are loved by many collectors, and funnily enough, these collectors are going for the darker coloured flowers, like the dark reds, or almost black flowers.

  • But it’s not only the colour of the flowers that drives collectors crazy, it’s the size of the flowers and how they lookEvery so often that present a show, usually annually or biannually to sell some of their plants to the public.

This is the time to pick up something rare and exciting that you will never find in a nursery, garden centre let alone a big box store, and it’s not to be missed. 
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Anthony Grassi, President of the Frangipani Society of Australia. 

Anthony, mentioned the Moragne hybrids. 
Bill Moragne is the father of Plumeria breeding.

Plumeria%2Bclassic.jpg
#27 

A professional horticulturist in Hawaii during the 1950’s he pioneered and perfected the cross breeding/hybridizing technique for frangipanis. 
His best hybrids set the standard years ago and they still do today.

Why Doesn't My frangipani flower?

Answer: 
  • It may be too young. 
When you first buy your frangipani plant, whether just a cutting or in a pot, it will most likely flower in the first year. The second year, it will put all its energy into growing strong roots and lengthening branches.
While it's still young, the stems will need a minimum of 2 years before the wood is ready again to produce buds and flower. The same applies, if you prune it.
 
  • After that, you may need to think about your fertilising regime.
Anthony recommends Sudden Impact for Roses, but following it up with a couple of applications of potash granules applied in spring and summer.
  • The third factor is, sunlight. 
Is your frangipani growing in full all day sun?
If it's not getting enough sun,  a minimum of 6 hours, it will resolutely fail to flower.
Not all the colour variations have strong perfume, but quite a few have flowers that are 10cm across, and imagine that amplified with a bunch of flowers,.
You end up with a cluster of flowers the size of a basketball.
Now that’s something to see.

Pink%2BOrange%2BPlumeria.jpg

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about where to get these amazing cultivars, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Firewheel Tree is Plant of the Week

March 3rd, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Stenocarpus sinuatus: Firewheel tree

At this time of year (late summer in Australia), there’s a spectacular tree in some parks and gardens that is full of the native birdlife because they’re after the nectar laden bright red flowers.

One of my favourite trees. The flowers are just magnificent and so unusual.
Like the spokes of a wheel, they inspired the logo for my radio show. 
 

Firewheel%2Btree%2Bflowers.jpg
Stenocarpus sinuatus : firewheel tree

A beautiful tree that is often overlooked for gardens but maybe you should grow it. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 

The tree is laden with nectar and as usual, the crazy parrots, such as lorikeets, go for the flowers, screeching their delightful tune as they take a sip.

Firewheel%2Btree%2B3.jpgSometimes, the nectar ferments in the hot sun making the birds a little more jolly.
Ring tail possums like to chew on the new leaves during the warm months.
The leaves are quite large, up to 20cm in length and they are quite leathery.

The green, lobed leaves are similar to those of maple trees, featuring five main veins which are yellowish-green and prominent on the underside of the leaf. One of this tree’s most outstanding features is its distinct autumn foliage – a highlight of the autumn season, so people reckon, but not so much in my garden.

My tree has profuse bright red and orange flowers creating a spectacular display from summer to autumn. Shaped like the spokes of a wheel before they open, these symmetrical blossoms may be up to 10 cm in diameter and are highly attractive, especially to birds.

The leaves are not great for composting, in fact it would take years, so best to put them in the green bin.
Adrian says that you can grow this tree in a pot for some years, but make it a large pot.
When the leaves start dropping you might need to think about putting in the garden or shifting it to an even larger pot. 
You can also root prune the tree and keep it in the same pot. 
Worth having. 
If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com
 

Real World Gardener Fire Damage on Plants part 1 in Design Elements

March 3rd, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Regeneration%2Bafter%2Bbushfire%2B4.jpgAssessing Fire Damaged Gardens Part 1

This series is about the task of assessing and rebuilding a garden after a fire event.

How to tell if the plant is viable, what to do with soil that’s been burnt and has a layer of ash, and what to think about when choosing plants to replant those that didn’t recover.

So let’s start off with assessing what plants remain.

I'm talking withWayne van Balen, immediate past president of the Institute of Horticulture.

PLAY: Assessing Fire Damaged Plants_5th February 2020

The recent bushfires in Australia has seen how fire can damage and even kill trees in your backyard. The extent of the damage depends on how hot and how long the fire burned. 

Regeneration%2Bafter%2Bbushfire%2B8.jpg

Many fires were out-of-control fire damaging trees in your garden in various ways. 

Some trees were completely or partially consumed, which leads to drying out or just plain scorching.

Some trees were simply just singed.

Many trees damaged by fire can recover, given your help.

This is particularly true of Australian native trees that have adaptations to recover from fire, when they were injured.

 But the first thing to do, even before you start helping fire damaged trees, is to determine the ones that need to be removed.

  • The big tip is to not rush out to cut everything down that looks scorched and burnt.

Plants, native or not, can regenerate but it may take some time.

Real World Gardener Parlour Palms in Plant of the Week

March 3rd, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Chamaedorea elegans: Parlour palm

Do you love or hate palm trees? 
The gardening community is divided into two groups, those that love the palm trees and those that hate them. 
Probably because people persist in growing the environment weed, the cocos palm, which although grows really fast, is particularly ugly.

Chamaedorea_elegans.jpg
Chamaedorea elegans: Parlour palm

There are many more well behaved palms and more lovely palms out there. 
So let’s find out. 
I'm talking with the plant panel were Jeremy Critchley of www.thegreengallery.com.au and Karen Smith, editor of www.hortjournal.com.au 

Chamaedorea elegans is in the class of smaller palm trees, that is also one of the most palms sold around the world.

Parlour palm makes a fabulous indoor specimen because of its leaf fronds that emanate as a cluster from the base. It's also known to purify the air indoors (NASA list of top 50 plants) as well as tolerate low light levels.
You can keep the parlour palm indoors for many years, but planted out in the garden under other leafy palms or larger leaved shrubs, it grows as a bushy alternative to the single trunks of most other palms. 
Plus, you don’t have dropping palm fronds like you do with cocos palms and a few others.
 

Real World Gardener Unusual Trees in the Good Earth

March 3rd, 2020

THE GOOD EARTH

Unusual Trees for Your Garden
Do you have fruit or nut trees growing in your garden? 
Picking fresh fruits from your own tree, is a different experience altogether to buying the same produce from a shop.

The_tree_and_seedpods_of_Moringa_oleifer
Moringa oleifera with seed pods

However, not everyone has the space for an orchard, and growing fruits in a small space may seem like a daunting task. 
With the right selection of fruits for small spaces, though, you can enjoy picking fruits off the tree in your own backyard. 

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska director of www.mosshouse.com.au 

jabuticaba.jpg
Jabuticaba

Margaret mentioned Moringa olifeira or drumstick tree, horseradish tree or just miracle tree, is best in subtropical  dry, hot areas. Think arid regions, and you have the right environment. All parts of the tree are edible not just for us but as fodder for animals as well.
Jabuticaba or Brazilian grape tree is in the Myrtaceae family, along qith the allspice tree (Pimenta doica) and eucalypts.

The way the fruits grow is known as "cauliflory," in other words they grow up the trunk and branches of the tree.
 If you can grow Jacaranda you grow this tree. 
Acer saccharum or sugar maple for cooler districts. 
If you want to know more or if you have any questions about these unusual trees, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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