Sturdy Miram black box judged best paddock tree
Wal Meyer’s black box, Eucalyptus largiflorens, is the March winner of Wimmera Landcare’s monthly Trees of the Wimmera competition.
Last month’s competition called for ‘best paddock tree’.
Wal is from Miram South, 10 kilometres east of Kaniva. He said the tree was ‘a beaut example of an old black box’ that always had a mushroom shape, making it an excellent shade tree for sheep in summer.
Black box or ‘swamp gum’ generally occur on heavy clay soils in areas subject to periodic flooding and often define the margins of dry lakes and former streams. They are quite common on the flood plains of the Wimmera River. They tolerate dryer conditions than the river red gum and are extremely tolerant of heavy, poorly drained and alkaline soils.
But regular flooding is required to sustain healthy growth. They generally grow to 10 to 20 metres high with a large spreading crown and drooping branches. They have a short trunk with dark grey bark that is fibrous over most of the tree.
The Aboriginal population used the bark to build shelters and the roots to make implements such as boomerangs.
Black box have also been used extensively in the Wimmera for fence-posts, sheds and firewood. Red in colour, the timber is hard and durable.
Flowering between September and February and rich in nectar and pollen, the trees are a valuable food source for native birds, insects and other wildlife and honey production. They make useful windbreaks, shelterbelts, shade and ornamental plantings.
April’s competition calls for people across the Wimmera to send in their information about their ‘favourite hollow or dead tree’.
The cut-off for entries is April 28. People can send their photographs and stories to Trees of the Wimmera Facebook page, or to Bronwyn Bant, email firstname.lastname@example.org; Lisa Oliver at email@example.com or Ray Zippel at firstname.lastname@example.org or deliver or post them to Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, 24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400.
– Ray Zippel
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Posted on Apr 19 2017