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The Most Colorful Tree- Rainbow Eucalyptus

When we think of trees and color, we typically imagine the tree’s leaves. But there is a tree known for its colorful bark. And unlike any other tree, the bark is made up of brilliant fluorescent colors, giving the tree the name Rainbow Eucalyptus.

To first see the Rainbow Eucalyptus, you might think somebody vandalized the tree or poured paint all over it. How can a tree have so many bright, almost fluorescent colors on it? But the bark is authentic.  The Rainbow Eucalyptus, also called Eucalyptus deglupta, Mindanao Gum and Rainbow Gum, is naturally found in the Northern Hemisphere. It naturally grows in New Britain, New Guinea, Ceram, Sulawesi and Mindanoa. Others grow the tree and cultivate it now around the world for its pulpwood, which is used in paper.

Of course the tree is also grown for ornamental purposes. The bark, which is patchy and sheds at different times, is bright green, blue, purple, orange, yellow and then maroon, each colors showing its aging process.  The tree grows almost 100 feet tall.

This eucalyptus can be grown in the United States in warmer climates. The Hardiness Zone for these trees is 9-11, 26 to 28 degrees, but only for brief periods. The tree does require warmth, has a low tolerance for intense or prolonged frost and requires an abundance of water. If growing the E. Deglupta in a container NEVER let it dry out, as it can prove fatal – these trees do dry out quite quickly.  For landscaping purposes, many plant their rainbow eucalyptus near freshwater ponds, lakes or canals. Mature trees can survive in drier areas but they do their best when having access to abundant moisture.

The eucalyptus is an evergreen. It also requires full sun to light shade, but of course prefers full sun. The tree is easy to keep fertilized and is not fussy about food, fertilizing yearly is sufficient. The eucalyptus also is adaptable to different soils, but likes soils that are well drained.

The E. deglupta, like other eucalyptus, are mostly pest free. An occasional mealybug or aphid may appear or even a caterpillar or leafcutting bee, but these trees typically can be grown without pest damage.

The Eucalyptus tree on its own has been a valuable resource as it grows fast and under many conditions. There are over 600 species of Eucalypts. Many of these trees are good for fuelwood and pole production. Because the tree grows so fast, it can build up stresses and lead to distortion, which makes it difficult to cut into potential timber. Eucalyptus is also resistant to termites which means it doesn’t have to be treated, as other wood might – thus helping the environment. On the downside, these trees require a lot of water. It is suggested not to plant them near food crops and plants that also need a lot of light and water as they will compete with each other. The benefit of this tree being a water hog is that it is sometimes used to drain swamps, which in turn reduces the risk of malaria.

Eucalypts belong to the family Myrtaceae. The flowers tend to be groups into inflorescences (with the exception of E.globulus which has single flowers). Bark varies from ribbed to the smooth and can be distinctly deciduous.  The leaves are also variable in both shape and color.

The Eucalyptus tree is also known for its fragrant oil. The oil can be used for cleaning and functions as a natural insecticide.

Each Eucalyptus tree has its own look and offerings. As for the Rainbow Euclapytus, it is mostly known for just being quite unique.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Preparing Your Trees For Summer Storms

When it comes to protecting trees and plants, people often think winter takes the hardest toll. But summer and the storms that can come with it – from wind to strong rains, can be just as hard on trees as ice. Depending on your region, the wind and rain can actually be quite devastating to trees, if you are not prepared.

Most trees can biologically adapt themselves to wind and ice during an average annual growing season due to the fact trees can sway in the wind and these movements strengthen the woody material developing the stem and limbs. But, during the spring and summer months, many areas receive strong rainstorms, lightening and wind. The winds shift sometimes bringing in violent thunderstorms and occasionally tornados in some areas. Other areas have hail and flooding to deal with. Whatever the situation, it is most likely to make your trees vulnerable. Heavy rains cause healthy roots to weaken their hold. Winds can snap brittle branches.

There are typically six ways a tree is damaged by a storm. They include blowing down from the wind, stem failure, crown twist, root failure, branch failure and lightening strike.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, states that “Three-fourths of the damage that trees incur during storms is predictable and preventable.” Even one’s best efforts cannot prepare a tree to withstand the fiercest of winds, however, there is a lot of preparation you can and should do to greatly diminish potential storm damage to your trees. This usually requires watching for defects and vulnerabilities in trees and addressing them right away.

Here are some defects to watch out for that makes trees more vulnerable to wind and other severities of the weather:
•    Dead wood is number one. This kind of wood is unpredictable because it is brittle, and cannot give under pressure like living tree branches. What dead wood do you have in your trees that needs to be removed?
•    Cracks are clear indicators of potential branch failure, where there will be splitting sooner or later.
•    Poor tree composition (branch structure). This one is difficult for the average person to identify, but you can start by looking for excessive leaning, long horizontal limbs, crossing branches that rub against each other and create wounds, and narrow crotches (V-shaped instead of U-shaped). Trees with two trunks or leaders that are of identical diameter and have a narrow crotch need special care. To prevent splitting, choose one to be made dominant by stunting the growth of the other through pruning (called subordination).
•    Decay, as evidenced by fungal growth or hollow cavities, is a sign of weakness.
•    Pests can exacerbate a tree’s health problems, but they typically target trees that are already sickly.
•    Root problems, such as stem-girdling roots, while sometimes harder to detect, have the most impact on a tree’s inability to stay upright. Weak roots and a thick canopy is the deadliest combination during a storm.
•    A thick canopy. Can you see some sky through the tree? Keeping your trees thin is the single most important thing to do to “storm-proof” them. Quite simply put: the thicker a tree is, the more susceptible it is to damage in heavy winds. Even for a tree that is otherwise perfectly healthy, overly dense foliage poses a safety hazard during stormy weather. A dense canopy will not allow the wind to easily pass through, and the resistance to wind can cause branches to break or even bring the entire tree down. This especially applies to weight at the ends of branches, which is why stripping only the lower parts of the branches is not adequate (and leaves the tree with a funny lion-tailed look).

If you have identified problems in your trees such as the above, contact a professional arborist or tree specialist to help you detail out a plan in addressing your trees health and finding ways to strengthen them if possible, before storms cause more damage.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

Trees And How They Make Streets Safer

Trees have been known to have hundreds of benefits. But who would guess that they can make streets safer. And despite the fact many traffic engineers have felt that trees are dangerous for motorists as they narrow lanes and  obstruction things like parked cars, other engineers have proven this theory wrong. How?

Studies have been made on the correlation between streets and accidents and streets that are wide open and streets that are tree lined. It has been shown that streets that are wide-open seem to encourage motorists to speed and therefore with speeding comes more accidents. On the flip side, streets that are tree-lined encourage motorists to slow down and drive more cautiously – which of course means fewer accidents.

It seems, trees provide visual cues to drivers about their speed and send signals back to them for potential of collisions, which in turn makes the driver slow down. Trees also create physical barriers between motorists and pedestrians and trees seem to make drivers calmer.  As for their other benefits, trees give shade on hot days, absorb exhaust, produce oxygen and can even extend the life of pavement by 40 to 60 percent.

Eric Dumbaugh, an assistant professor of transportation at Texas A&M is the man who decided to prove his theory of how trees created safety rather than detriment on streets. He published his findings in the Summer 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association. Among the cases cited in his JAPA article are these:

* A study of five arterial roadways in downtown Toronto found that mid-block car crashes declined between 5 and 20 percent in areas where there were elements such as trees or concrete planters along the road.

* Urban village areas in New Hampshire containing on-street parking and pedestrian-friendly roadside treatments were two times less likely to experience a crash than the purportedly safer roadways preferred by most transportation engineers.

* A study of two-lane roadways found that although wide shoulders were associated with reductions in single-vehicle, fixed-object crashes, they were also associated with a statistically significant increase in total crashes. A rise in multiple-vehicle crashes offset the decline in fixed-object crashes.

* An examination of Colonial Drive (State Route 50), which connects the north end of downtown Orlando to the suburbs, found fewer serious mid-block crashes on the livable section than on a comparison conventional roadway. According to Dumbaugh, the conventional roadway also was associated with more injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Dumbaugh followed up his experiment with an article on findings he examined safety on three routes- State Routes 15 and 44 in DeLand, Florida, and State Route 40 in Ocala, Florida. Each of these routes have pedestrian-friendly designs along parts of their length and conventional designs along other sections. Dumbaugh discovered that the pedestrian-friendly segments experience 40 percent fewer crashes than comparison roadways.

Having this information has helped city governments integrate more trees into their landscapes, an idea they have liked all along, not only for safety reasons but also because for planners, streets are more than throughways for traffic. They are also public places where people walk, shop, meet and engage in various social and recreational activities. This in turn creates pedestrian friendly streets that are highly desired by homebuyers, thus driving the value of homes up.

Trees have value in nature as well as in public places, aesthetically, environmentally and now for safety.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree services in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and stump removal. For more information on Austin tree service please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.