Talking Trees

A Blog by John Halkett

Category: Nature (page 1 of 2)

More than just wine bottle stoppers

Harvesting Cork Trees

Cork oak, Quercus suber a medium-sized, evergreen tree is the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers and other uses. It is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. It grows to up to 20 metres, although it is typically more stunted in its native environment.

Cork oaks commonly live more than 200 years. Cork harvesting is done entirely without machinery. The European cork industry produces 340,000 tonnes of cork a year, with a value of €1.5 billion and employs 30,000 people.

The

read more

More trees – you will feel better

Couple walking dog in forest

As if being renewable, storing carbon and contributing to climate change mitigation isn’t enough – trees make you feel better – true! It’s not stretching the point to say your health and well-being are likely to be improved if you walk amongst the trees.

Increasing urbanisation means that people have less access to nature in their daily lives. Australians on average now spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors. This coincides with reports of increasing obesity and nearly half of Australians

read more

New Zealand’s oldest exotic tree still going strong

Williams good Christian venerable old pear tree.

Just before launching into this month’s column I want to express my appreciation to the Forestry Corporation of NSW for agreeing to continue to support and sponsor this column in 2019. So thanks to chief executive Nick Roberts and staff.

Right, well thinking of exotic trees in a New Zealand forestry context radiata pine immediately springs to mind. However, the country’s oldest exotic tree, a Williams good Christian pear tree near Kerikeri in Northland, is still going strong as it enters its

read more

They speak a language that the strangers do not know

Umbrella thorn acacia trees pump toxic substances into their leaves to rid themselves of browsing giraffes.

This blog begs the question do trees talk? Or perhaps more specifically do they communicate with each other? According to the dictionary definition, language is what people use when we talk to each other. Looked at this way, humans are the only beings who can use language, because the concept is limited to our species. But do trees communicate with each other? If so how, they definitely do not produce sounds, so there’s nothing to hear. It turns out trees have a completely different way of

read more

Araucaria trees feature of Paris of the South

Distinctive umbrella form, mature Araucaria araucana trees a feature of the streets of Buenos Aires.

Driving around the streets of Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina, as you do, it is easy to see why it is call the Paris of the South. Wide boulevards, extensive parklike gardens, and heaps of statues. Striking and so South American are the frequent mature Araucaria trees. A distinguishing feature of many South American landscapes is the Araucaria araucana trees, commonly called monkey puzzles, or Chilean pines. An evergreen tree native to central and southern Chile and

read more

Sydney’s Wishing Tree

The Wishing tree, Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, about 1880: Probably the most notable tree to have grown in the Gardens.

Sydney’s Botanic Gardens are an important part of Australia’s tree heritage and Australia’s oldest scientific institution. Established during the reign of King George III, the Gardens were granted the royal epithet in 1959 by his great-great-great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. The gardens are an important part of Australia’s tree heritage. The botanic gardens are the site of the first farm which was began within weeks of the establishment of the colony of New South

read more

Big Victorian mountain ash tree in Nelson

The impressive mountain ash forests of Victoria are for height, size and grandeur, unequalled among the world’s hardwood trees.

Went to Nelson at the top end of New Zealand’s South Island recently to visit my brother Lawrie. While there we hunted out the locally well-known Barrington Gum. It’s an Australian mountain ash (Eucalyptus regans) thought to have been planted on then open farm land about 1860. It is now embedded within a radiata pine plantation. The tree was officially measured in 2009 and at that time had a height of 72.1 metres and a diameter of 2.4 metres. The tree is listed in the New Zealand

read more

Kauri and monkey puzzle tree

Magnificent planted Queensland kauri at Blackburn Cove, eastern Sydney.

I have always had a soft spot for Agathis trees. This magnificent planted Queensland kauri (Agathis robusta) is adjacent to the beach on eastern Sydney where I occasionally go for a quick swim before work. It has to be well over a hundred years old – perhaps two hundred. Together Agathis and Araucaria form the Southern Hemisphere conifer family of trees Araucariaceae. Agathis – a genus of thirteen species is generally known as kauri, after

read more

Boreal forests – it’s cold up there

Main tree species in boreal forests are conifers – pines, spruces, firs and larches – adapted to very cold climatic conditions.

Boreal forests are one of the planet’s great ecosystems. Boreal (meaning northern – they are called taiga in Russia) forest occupies the northern sub arctic zone up beyond about latitude 50 encircling the Earth at the top of the Northern Hemisphere across Russia, Scandinavia, Alaska and Canada. The boreal forest belt represents the world’s largest land-based ecosystem and act as part of the largest source and filter of freshwater on the planet. Temperatures in these boreal

read more

Around the Christmas tree – and thanks

The arrival of the festive season in Sydney is marked by the appearance of the Martin Place Christmas tree.

Christmas is fast approaching again! Interesting isn’t it that at the centre of this, the most prominent annual festive holiday, is a tree. However, long before the advent of Christianity trees that remained green all year round had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people decorate their homes during the festive season with ever-green pines or fir trees, ancient people hung evergreen branches over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens

read more

Older posts