Sunday, 9 January 2011

It was a wild and windy night

and no, I do not care if that sounds like Snoopy sitting on top of his doghouse with his typewriter in front of him.
We get "gully winds" at this time of the year. I do not fully understand the geography but they have something to do with our physical location and the variation between ground and air temperatures. Whatever their cause they can rage all night and do considerable damage in the process.
Last night was one of the worst we have had in years. The local branch of the State Emergency Service will be busy most of the day removing large branches which have fallen in the wrong places. People will have to get out and remove debris from all sorts of places. We have some cleaning up of our own to do. The last of the apricots will almost certainly have fallen in the wind. With luck most of them will have fallen into the netting rather than making a sticky mess on the ground. Whether we will now get any plums or peaches depends on how well the netting (there to protect the fruit from the birds) has held the trees together. We may be lucky. So far I have not dared to look.
Over our suburb and adjacent suburbs however there will be more damage than is necessary. This always happens. This year the problem has three major causes. The first is the drought. Although we have now had some rain this did not come soon enough or in a great enough quantity to save some trees. If they have survived they are now losing limbs. The second is the failure of some householders to do necessary maintenance. Some people are simply unaware of the need to do it and others fail to do it. The third problem however is the conservationists who want us to leave everything as it is. They object to limbs being removed from trees. They object to trees being removed. They demand only "native" trees be planted.
The reality is that many gums and other natives, beautiful in their own way, are quite unsuited to the urban landscape. They do have a tendency to drop their limbs. It is the way they survive.
There was an enormous crash in the night. I know what has happened. I can see it from here, or rather I cannot see it. The big gum, about which even the council had doubts, has fallen. Going to the corner I can see it has fallen into the road and not on a home or even a car. By some miracle it just missed the power lines. The men have arrived to remove it. Those who own the houses around it will be relieved. They wanted it removed for safety's sake. The conservationists had lobbied against removal. None of them lived close by but they won.
I love trees. Our house is surrounded by them. Our street is lined with them. Thankfully none of them are the big gums. They belong elsewhere.
I can understand what the conservationists are concerned about. I can understand what the environmental lobby is worried about. Like any other groups however, when they become fanatical about a cause they become dangerous. This time we were lucky. They have to get the balance right.


Anonymous said...

Things seem to be out of balance these days!

Glad the tree missed the power lines. That sounds like a miracle. Glad you're safe!

Rachel Fenton said...

There are gums all along the main road near where I live - totally unsuited to Auckland's boggy clay ground - thay are a hazard.

jeanfromcornwall said...

Same problem with environmentalists over here (UK), they seem to be unable to accommodate the fact that trees etc. have a finite lifespan. At least your storm has sorted out one that needed attention. What would the workers use to cut up a eucalyptus? A neighbour of ours had one that fell in half in a storm, and my husband volunteered to cut the lying bit into removable pieces. The wood of the trunk turned into a nasty paste on the blade of his chainsaw, and it could not be cleaned off. That turned into an expensive good turn!

catdownunder said...

Chainsaw was used Jean. Fortunately we were out and did not have to endure the noise. (I hate the sound!)
They were very lucky Ann it did not do serious damage - a fence has been knocked over and a car has a dent in the roof. It could have been people!
Gums are also a fire hazard Rachel. I cannot understand them!