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Friday, October 9, 2009

You might pass a veteran tree everyday

Here is a veteran tree that a great many of us, thousands in fact pass everyday

This Silky oak - Grevillea robusta is a good representative of the the creek line (riparian) species that would have been very common in this region of the Gold Coast. There are only a small number of Silky oaks of this age and size remaining amidst the increasing spread of urban development.

The resiliance of this tree is incredible, in the face of major health impacts, roads on both sides inside the dripline of what is a fairly narrow canopy. The Nerang - Broadbeach road (dual carriageway) is constructed on a steep embankment (to satisfy Q100 requirements probably)....there is 2m of highly compacted roadbase over approx 40% of the rootplate of this tree!

As if that were not enough there is another smaller road on the other side of the tree stem, constructed almost at grade....which basically means a very large volume of soil and root mass would have been excavated and replaced with compacted road base.

This tree is an incredible survivor!

Despite all these massive losses to the available soil volume for normal healthy root growth, this tree continues on, of course we can conjecture that it is surviving on decades of (pre-road construction) stored carbohydrates, and that the impacts will indeed are taking their toll on it health, and I think there is a lot of truth in is still incredible that the tree is defying the odds thus far.

When we stopped by for a chat a hug and some picture taking there were some very vocal feathered renters up in the canopy...both living in the numerous habitat hollows, and just dropping by for some nectar from the beautiful flower display this delightful veteran was putting on for anyone who cared to look.


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