Fine ex­am­ples of shade trees

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Back To School - BY RAY ZIPPEL

This month as part of Wim­mera Land­care’s monthly Trees of the Wim­mera se­ries we have two fan­tas­tic ex­am­ples of shade trees.

One of them is Adrian and Su­san Bone’s mag­nif­i­cent yel­low box, Eu­ca­lyp­tus mel­liodora, on the cou­ple’s La­harum prop­erty.

These trees are usu­ally found on lower slopes and plains on al­lu­vial soils and have small, creamy-white flow­ers in groups of seven.

Flow­er­ing is from Septem­ber to Fe­bru­ary, of­ten heav­ier ev­ery sec­ond year.

Yel­low box gen­er­ally grow from 15 to 30 me­tres high with a spread­ing, mod­er­ately open crown and vari­able bark.

The flaky bark is fi­brous, light yel­low-brown, of­ten whorled or run­ning di­ag­o­nally and be­com­ing darker and shaggy with age. The up­per limbs are a smooth cream-yel­low in colour.

They make great shade and shel­ter trees that are a valu­able wildlife habi­tat, pro­vid­ing refuge, nest­ing sites and food for a wide range of na­tive birds, in­sects, pos­sums and bats.

Their growth can be fairly slow. The wood is hard, dense, heavy, ex­tremely durable and ter­mite re­sis­tant. The tim­ber has been used in heavy con­struc­tion and for poles, fire­wood and spe­cialty tim­ber.

Yel­low box is con­sid­ered to be the best na­tive tree for honey pro­duc­tion. The honey pro­duced has a great golden colour, ex­cel­lent taste and valu­able keep­ing qual­i­ties.

In the early days in the Wim­mera, honey pro­duc­tion was quite a big in­dus­try and yel­low box sites were much sought after.

Yel­low box honey has now be­come a recog­nised brand – of­ten not pure but a blend of other types with yel­low box added for its colour and recog­nised ‘keep­ing’ prop­er­ties.

Phil Hall’s beau­ti­ful red gum, Eu­ca­lyp­tus camal­d­u­len­sis, on Seven Mile Creek at East Con­con­gella is another ex­am­ple of an out­stand­ing shade tree.

Phil said the tree had been ‘beau­ti­fully man­i­cured’ by sheep.

Red gum of­fers ex­cel­lent shade and shel­ter and pro­vides an im­por­tant role in sta­bil­is­ing soil, es­pe­cially on stream banks and pad­docks. The trees are wide­spread across the Wim­mera.

The next monthly com­pe­ti­tion is for the best ‘Tree­house Tree’ and the tree can be of any species. The cut off for en­tries is Fe­bru­ary 24.

Peo­ple can check out our ‘Trees of the Wim­mera’ Face­book page, where photos and sto­ries can be viewed or sent.

Photos and sto­ries can also be posted or de­liv­ered to Bron­wyn Bant at ad­min@platy­ au; Lisa Oliver at Lisa.oliv­er­; Ray Zippel at zip­ or de­liv­ered or posted to Wim­mera Catch­ment Man­age­ment Author­ity, 24 Dar­lot Street, Hor­sham, 3400.

SHADE: Adrian and Su­san Bone’s yel­low box on their La­harum prop­erty.

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