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Climate change – Ireland and the July 2021 Heatwave

Climate change is man made, very few people deny it now, even large corporations with vested interests are resigning themselves to the facts.
There are practical ways to decrease the extremes of climate change and these can be very cost effective, indeed they are actually economically advantageous. Planting Eucalyptus trees in order to produce sustainable firewood, though the topic of this post is the benefits that Eucalyptus trees provide in terms of shade and natural cooling.

The temperatures on the thermometers were actually showing a 7โ„ƒ difference when I went to collect them in about forty minutes later.

  • 35.7 in the full sun
  • 28.3 in the shade of the Eucalyptus trees.

I’d say this is more accurate as the one in the shade was previously in the poly tunnel at around 40โ„ƒ and the one in full sun was in the outhouse at around 26โ„ƒ
So a whole 7โ„ƒ cooler in the shade of the Eucalyputs trees.
NOTE also that today isn’t the warmest day of this heat wave, Saturday was when it was showing 32โ„ƒ on the car thermometer, compared to today when it was 26โ„ƒ in the car.
So if you want to scale that up, cattle standing in temperatures of 40โ„ƒ or more. I’m sure they won’t be enjoying this temperature extreme ๐Ÿ™

The Milk Kefir is certainly making a difference and I recently discovered that Milk Kefir has fungi in it, though which variety isn’t clear from the limited research I have done so far. I’ve always thought that it was having an impact on the soil health rather than feeding the plants directly.
With climate change increasing the extremes of temperature here in Ireland, sustainable organic methods of resilience should be given serious consideration. As I say elsewhere, using Milk Kefir has improved the vigour of my trees significantly.

The video above was taken during the afternoon, most of the insect life emerges during the early evening, and it is very apparent that my strategy of no chemicals and allowing wild areas under the trees has improved the abundance and diversity of the insect population. I don’t have any Swallows or House Martins nesting this year, though I have far more of them coming up to feed in the early evening, they’re fabulous ๐Ÿ™‚

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First Paulownia tree planting

As I say in the video, I will be planting four rows:

  • Pao tong
  • Nord Max
  • Shan Tong
  • Tomentosa

for firewood, as a wind break / shelter, and for the flowers in a few years time. Also has to be said that it will be another section of grass on a tricky sloping area that I will no longer have to cut ๐Ÿคฃ I will sow it with wild flowers ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m hoping that the smelly organic fertiliser will deter the Hares and other herbivores from dining on them !

I’ve been researching Paulownia for a couple of years now and they are impressive. Europe seems to be particularly keen on them. I’ve watched videos from Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe and Germany. Paulownia will do well on moderately fertile ground and at high altitude. Most are very frost tolerant and those that I had outside here during what weren’t particularly severe frosts during the 2020 /21 winter, -4โ„ƒ, though they were prolonged, were mostly fine. They don’t like getting their roots soaked for too long, not a tree for the bog, though they do like hydration during the growing season.

Those in the video below are fourteen months old from planting and look to be around four metres tall ๐Ÿ˜ฎ though those I have spoken to here in Ireland say that they aren’t getting anywhere close to this sort of growth. So I am trialing and will keep you posted ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Paulownia in the video below are three years old.
Outstanding growth ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I have planted more, and intend to plant a few more in the next few weeks, even though it is getting quite late on in the growing season.

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Eucalyptus trees – Bog Lizard update July 21

My Eucalyptus plantation is maturing nicely, I am very pleased with how its growing ๐Ÿ˜

I was very keen to show just how sturdy the Eucalyptus Rodwayi that I planted on a very exposed bank (what is called a ditch here in Ireland) in December. It’s had to contend with a few gales and four severe penetrating frosts and if I’d done vegetation control then most would have survived ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
It does look a bit spindly, though as above it can hack it so to speak ๐Ÿคฃ

The Globulus in the frost hollow didn’t do as well, though a few have survived, one further up is thriving ๐Ÿ™‚

All the hedges have established in less than a year and the Gunnii hedge up by the poly tunnels has come back dense and strong from its severe pruning last year. Planned to promote bushy growth, it has worked. I did lose a couple due to unseasonably cold winds in the summer last year, but most made it.

When I looked back at the photos of what it all looked like after the Beast from the East storm of 2018, I can only be delighted with how my mini forest has developed ๐Ÿ˜

Some good colour on the bark of the Viminalis, though a couple have been blown over by the winter gales. I staked one, the other I cut my losses and will replant with Globulus which I think will do well in that section.

Couple of typos in the video if that’s the right way to describe them. The Nitens up behind the bank at the top is about two and a half metres tall, half the height of those further down, though it was planted at least size months before them.
The Dalrympleana I use as evidence of the beneficial effects of Milk Kefir on tree vigour and health is about a year and a half old from germination, certainly no more than that and is about two metres tall. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Eucalyptus hedging update July 21

Very pleased with how quickly my Eucalyptus hedges are establishing themselves ๐Ÿ™‚

The first one I started behind a retaining wall took ages to establish, though improving the soil quality using Milk Kefir has really helped and it is now growing vigorously ๐Ÿ˜

The Gunnii hedge in front of the poly tunnels as wind protection after storm Hannah blew the covers off them ๐Ÿ˜ Anyways I let it get to around two metres tall and then cut it right back to promote bushy growth and it’s had the desired effect, I now have a nice thick luscious Gunnii hedge ๐Ÿ˜

I planted a few different varieties of Eucalyptus as wind protection around the area where I keep my seedlings during the warmer months to harden them off.
In a year they have really come on and the Urnigera in particular has become a dense hedge a metre plus high in a year or so without any cutting back to promote bushy growth ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

The hedge that I have just planted is Subcrenulata although hedge might not be quite my intended use or the accurate descriptions of what I have planned.
The intention is to have a higher privacy screen as well as wind protection for my new poly tunnel and the area surrounding it ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Eucalyptus flowers

After a little over a year from when I first noticed the flower buds developing, these Eucalyptus Gunnii flowers started to bloom ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some photos of the Eucalyptus flowers which provide more clarity ๐Ÿ˜‰

The cap coming off the flower bud and the petals of the flower starting to be exposed. Yes, they are actually the petals and are scientifically described as such in Euclid, though they are quite fine filaments

Eucalyptus Gunnii starting to bloom Ireland

This one has discarded the cap and is almost fully opened

Eucalyptus Gunnii bloom opening Ireland 100621

These two are fully opened

Eucalyptus Gunnii flowers Ireland

With lots of other flower buds at various stages, I am looking forward to a month or two of blooms, and as in the video, and the photo below, this Eucalyptus Dalrympleana is starting to develop flower buds. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ it isn’t another year before I get to see what the Dalrympleana variety of Eucalyptus flowers look like ๐Ÿคฃ

Eucalyptus Dalrympleana flowers Ireland
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Improving soil fertility

Though a lot of chemical fertilisers are still being used for large scale forestry and farming, there is a significant trend towards sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to grow our food and resources including trees.

I believe I have stumbled upon a long lasting and effective way of improving soil quality and vegetation yields, certainly for Eucalyptus trees and grass. Very important grass here in Ireland, ask any farmer !

I’ve published a couple of other videos and posts on improving soil fertility with milk Kefir, though the one below give a clear indication of the dramatic effect pouring milk Kefir onto the soil had on growth rates. As I say in the video I have treated the soil around all of my Eucalyptus trees with milk Kefir and am convinced it has improved their growth rate and health.

I am keen to see how long lasting the application of milk Kefir on the soil will be, and will update regularly.

The fact that using milk Kefir for soil improvement has extended the growing season for grass assures me that this is a method that should be investigated by foresters and farmers as well as the small growers and hobbyists ๐Ÿ™‚
What’s been most noticeable; is this extended growing season with the grass remaining green and lush, even during the depths of winter ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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Frost January 2021

Frost hasn’t been that prevalent since I’ve been in Ireland and started planting my Eucalyputs trees. Frosts haven’t been particularly prolonged, perhaps a couple of days here and there at most. Not severe enough, or prolonged enough to make any real impact on the hardness of the ground.

So the frosts of January 2021 which lasted a week or so, although not too severe, perhaps getting down to around -4โ„ƒ will be the first real test for my Eucalyptus mini forest. It has been prolonged and day time temperatures haven’t been warm enough to thaw the ground completely before the colder night time temperatures returned and continued the freeze.

These are Eucalyptus Glaucescens which are hardy down to -16โ„ƒ so I’m not expecting any issues with them.

Eucalyptus Glaucescens January 2021 frosts

Parvula are even more resilient to frosty weather, hardy down to -18โ„ƒ

Eucalyptus Parvula January 2021 frosts

Frost and Eucalyptus Robusta

The only variety that I have planted that may have an issue is Robusta which from my research so far is only frost hardy down to -6โ„ƒ

Eucalyptus Robusta in the frost

It seems to be doing fine. I noticed the withering on the new growth after a couple of reasonable gales at the end of 2020

Eucalyptus Robusta wind burn

and this is still by far the factor that will hamper the growth of Eucalyptus; strong cold winter gales.

This part of my mini forest does get the sun for much of the day, though at this time of year, early January it isn’t too strong. Still mostly it had thawed off the leaves by the time I got round to taking the photo below just after midday.

Eucalyptus Robusta with frost on leaves

All in all I am happy that Eucalyptus Robusta is still a good choice in Ireland. It is happy growing on the coast, a factor that will negate frosts which are tempered by sea temperatures. It is more tolerant of salty winds and slightly saline soils. It’s common name is Swamp Mahogany which says everything you need to know about the quality of the timber. Robusta is grown commercially for it’s high quality constructional timber.

Most Eucalyptus harden with maturity and the older leaves on this one, though less than a year old do seem to have survived both gales and frost.

Eucalyptus Robusta leaves in the frost

As with most life, I think it is a combination of the severity and duration that results in a deterioration in health. This is why I am so interested in the effects of this frosty period.

I’ll keep you posted ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Milk Kefir

The growth of my Eucalyptus has been phenomenal during the last few months, and I definitely attribute a good deal of that to my pouring diluted Milk Kefir around the trees to improve soil quality. My belief is that the Milk Kefir enables the trees to take up more of the beneficial nutrients they need for good strong vigorous growth than otherwise. Incidentally I believe this to be the case for this beneficial natural food when humans drink it, i.e. it enables our systems to extract the nutrients from the food we eat more effectively and therefore we are more nourished. Same with plants

Check it out for yourself in the video. There’s a big difference in the height and lushness of a portion of one of my Eucalyptus Gunnii hedges that was treated with Milk Kefir

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Eucalyptus update August 2020

Been quite a busy time as I am in the process of restructuring my racking for the poly tunnels. The new layout will give me twice the capacity, which will be handy in the winter months for protection and to reduce hydration when it isn’t needed.
Quite a few other projects, like a new poly tunnel and landscaping the front left portion of my garden. These are personal projects. The new poly tunnel for food, though it will be flexibly kitted out to facilitate nurturing Eucalyputs and other trees if required. Quite a lot more Eucalyptus hedging for shelter and display

The main focus of this update is on the natural control of Blue Gum Psyllid and the regeneration of my Eucalyptus hedge. Also the phenomenal growth of the Nitens and Gunnii that were fed with milk kefir. It is mighty stuff

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Cutting back the Poly Tunnel Eucalyptus Gunnii shelter hedge

I definitely had it in mind to cut back this Eucalyptus Gunnii hedge to twenty centimetres or so even when I was planting it. The privacy hedge I grew in the small town house garden I used to have was always a bit sparse and gappy in places. I knew I was being to timid when cutting it back and with this one I was determined to be bold.

One thing that was interesting was the thickness of the bark I have watched a video where they were milling a large Eucalyputs tree into boards and the bark was even thicker. Eucalyptus do shed their bark every year and from seeing this it is evident they are only shedding a very thin outer layer in relation to the whole.

Eucalyptus Gunnii bark thickness