View Full Version : Eucalypts - Eucalypts & the permaculture garden
25-03-2003, 08:18 PM
I am currently designing the layout for our property using permaculture principles. Our property has numerous trees mainly bloodwoods, gums(the ones koalas like), and wattles. My main concern is the location of the eucalypts with respect to the proposed growing areas because apparently they are strongly allopathic. Do they have a real effect on the garden? Should we remove them (replant more elsewhere)? Or what distances should we keep from them? Any information at all on this topic would be appreciated heaps.
27-03-2003, 08:32 AM
it is important to remember the principle of 'no waste' in a permaculture system. the bloodwoods and wattles are both very productive as far as attracting insects, providing some level of kindling and burning wood.
if the eucalypts are the koala's favourite - i am assuming you mean long-leaf box...though there are several that koalas take too with relish. long leaf box is probably one of the most useless eucalypts...and if this is the case removal might be the go.
one important thing is to design with what you have. we are currently in the process of designing our permaculture property that is completly covered with a eucalypt box forest. we have taken the approach to plant within the forest, this will involve some clearing, but we will hopefully preserve 3/4 of our 3 ha block and manage it as an argoforestry set up. the other 1/4 will be an intensive permaculture forest. any trees removed will be used for fence posts, some good red box trees will be milled or used as posts and beans on our house or shed, yellow box will be ekpt for fire wood for our slow combustion oven.
i'd recommend finding out what the eucalypt species is - and working out what you can use it for. i question the value of cutting down heaps of trees to make way for an orchard, but value specific tree removal with specific design purposes with a focus on reusing the material cut down.
hmmm...long response with few answers to your questions.
28-03-2003, 01:37 PM
i would have thought that feeding koalas was pretty useful. poor little buggers! ???
28-03-2003, 01:46 PM
hmmm. i guess feeding koalas is useful. what as 'foliage management'. not sure if koala poo is any good as a soil improver - considering what they eat, i doubt it.
but, and you'll hate me for this -
i guess if you were keen on koala meet, fattening them up on some long leaf box might be the best use for long leaf box available.
any good koala recipes?
ooh - no offense meant to animal liberationists, purist environmentalists, rspca members or politically active vegans/vegetarians.
Good on you Dan. It's good to get a laugh from the forum once in a while.
Sorry I can't help you Shane.
31-03-2003, 09:32 PM
Eucalypts, as a general rule are BAD Companions to gardens and orchards. I advise avoiding them like the plague.
Having said that, they do have a use (to koalas).
If you plan eating roast koala go Eucs. If it's fruit and vegies you want "Nuke the Euc" :D
Do a little experiment: take a barrow or two of prime compost and dump them on the ground where you want to orchard and keep it moist. Come back a few months later and try driving a fork into that beautiful soil. My guess is it will be solid Euc roots.
They are highly invasive fire weeds. They foster fire and reap the benefits by sucking up all the nutrients released in the ash. Not the kind of plants we want in and around human settlement.
28-05-2003, 10:30 PM
Thankyou so much for your responses and commentry. Sorry about the delay in response. There has been a lot happening and it hasn't been PC related.
Anyway it looks to me that some eucs are going to go. Does anyone know the best method to remove them - bulldozer (destroys soil structure), chainsaw (leaves stump and live roots), ringbark then chainsaw later or visa versa. Or is there an easy way to remove/kill the trunks once the tree is cut? Maybe to burn out the trunk? Any ideas would be appreciated.
28-05-2003, 11:13 PM
Ringbarking works real well and is relatively benign (except for the tree!!) - then you can get someone skilled and equipped in such matters to trim off the branches and overtime hollows will form and a habitat tree will emerge. Otherwise you'll have to get someone in to remove the stem. If the tree has good form and is a desirable species then it maybe worthwhile investigating having the stem milled using a portable mill (eg. lucas, lewis macquarie mills) - then at least there is a chance of emerging from the experience close to cost neutral or having some useful timber - not just firewood and a hefty bill.
29-05-2003, 10:12 AM
bulldozer (destroys soil structure),
We often use dozers to improve soil structure on heavy soils. A very deep ripper on the largest dozer around. Deep rip at the end of dry season so that ripping shatters hardpan.
Rip on contour and you have many of the benefits of swales without the extra earth moving.
Commenting on a specific situation is impossible without seeing it though. We may be sentencing the last clump of eucs in the area to death or creating a massive erosion problem ???
Certainly try to recover any timber and firewood before firestick clearing.
03-06-2003, 11:51 AM
Jeff, Darren or anyone...
regarding the 'invasive fire weed' properties of the eucalypt...how close would you have eucalypts to a permaculture food forest?
are we talking hundreds of metres?
03-06-2003, 09:32 PM
That would have been my next question, I would like to know the response on this one too.
04-06-2003, 09:52 AM
When i was a Jade Woodhouse farm i saw gums only meters from food trees such as bananas. Another point to make there is that she had them fairly close to native bushfoods, like myrtles and midyims.
If you look at some of the pictures on her website you can see how close they are: http://www.simplynaturalorganic.com/
hope this helps a little.
04-06-2003, 09:59 AM
doing it now! good websites that document projects are often hard to find. i find them very useful.
thanks for that.
05-06-2003, 01:57 PM
There are two issues with eucalypts and their relationship with cultivated ecologies...
1. Allellopathy - in most cases eucs operate in a very selfish way - however with a few notable exceptions and differing degrees of influence. Some species such as E. polyanthemos (red box) and Corymbia maculata syn. E.maculata (spotted gum) permit pasture and other vegetation to grow right up to the trunk - an allowance not usually associated with most other species of the genus. In natural systems this alellopathy is overcome by many other species thru the agency of co-evolution - something cultivated ecologies have had the time to go thru the process of. Roadside plantings of Western Australian eucs. in dryland Victorian areas are clear evidence of this: the soil erosion effects of the lack of vegetation at the base of these exotic eucs. is astounding and remains a problem some 40 years later! So look around and see whether the species you have or are proposing to plant displays alellopathic characteristics. And don't just stop at Eucs as there are plenty of other species that have this protective/selfish streak. See our web page for examples in practice.
2. Fire/Hazards: Eucs. are largely acknowledged to be fire weeds - phyrophitic vegetation par excellence. In addition may of us would have come close to death/injury from occaisionally falling limbs. I generally advise removal of such identified recalcitrants from situations urban and rural where their location has potential risk effects to other elements of a property, particularly buildings, play areas etc. Euc. leaves filling gutters and littering yards is like having random volatile incendiaries flying all over the place during the fire season. Strategically plant deciduous or low risk evergreens as opposed to these higher risk species.
11-06-2003, 08:01 AM
...regarding the 'invasive fire weed' properties of the eucalypt...how close would you have eucalypts to a permaculture food forest? ...
As far as is possible. You will grow fruit and vegies in Euc. woodland if you continue to feed but this is at great expense of effort and nutrient, most of which goes into the Euc.
I have a friend/neighbour who lives on a small wooded property. He tried for years to grow vegies with little joy. Now he has old cast-iron bath tubs on bricks in a clearing big enough to let light in. The tubs are full of good soil and he grows the vegies ne wants.
I wouldn't like to be visiting him when a catastrophic fire hits though. ???
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