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Firewood Ireland ๐Ÿชต

I’m often asked, “why eucalyptus”

Well, the main reason I started planting Eucalyptus was as a sustainable renewable energy resource and that is definitely turning out to be a worthwhile strategy for my ongoing heating requirements ๐Ÿ˜

Eucalyptus is fast growing and the hardwood timber is excellent as firewood logs which the brash providing excellent kindling ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Storm damage from Barra

As I say in the video, many of these trees weren’t planted very deeply and so haven’t had a fair go.

The Nitens lower down were planted properly, though the ground there can get quite saturated and this loosens the roots grip on the soil.

It is sad to see these trees like this, though I wasn’t entirely surprised.

My avenue of Viminalis were starting to create a really nice avenue, though I staked quite a few of them last year and I knew they had issues.
It is advantageous to stake trees to give them support until they establish, though most Eucalyptus grow so quickly that it isn’t really an option. Better to plant well and in groups so they can support each other. The ground all the way down the bank, what is called a ditch here in Ireland gets saturated during the winter and as I say, saturated ground loosens the roots grip. Perhaps one of the Swamp Gums would have been a better choice.
Though the foliage and bark on the Viminalis was beautiful this year, so I will give them another go.

Eucalyptus Viminalis Down 101221
Eucalyptus Viminalis down in avenue

The roots of the first Viminalis to fall

Eucalyptus Viminalis roots 101221

These Viminalis along the bank are growing straight and strong. They were planted well, so ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ the replacements will be sturdier trees.

Eucalyptus Viminalis straight

I was surprised at some of the Nitens, both ways, there were those I though would be down for sure, taking the full blast of the gale, and others as below I though were growing strongly enough to survive

Eucalyptus Nitens down

Likewise this Dalrympleana up by the poly tunnels was a sturdy tree, though when I went to take the photos, quite a few others in the area were at a slant, even a very well planted Glaucescens. When I went out to secure the poly tunnel doors, the gusts from Storm Barra were ferocious !

Eucalyptus Dalrympleana at Poly tunnels

Perhaps it is more exposed in the area around the poly tunnel, or the wind currents blowing straight up the bank have a more severe impact ?
Anyway I was surprised at how battered the Gunnii hedge is

Eucalyptus Gunnii Hedge
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Planting Eucalyptus in November

I always say you can plant Eucalyptus at any time of year, and I continue to do this, trying to plant at least one Eucalyptus in every month of the year.

This is November and I am keen to have an area of Eucalyptus Globulus, so am planting them on the bank furthest from the house.
Eucalyptus Globulus can become very large trees, though although related to Nitens, unlike Nitens they can be coppiced. This is another reason for planting them. I want to have a continual supply of high quality sustainable firewood, and I will be able to manage their size by coppicing as well.

The morning after planting, there was a slight ground frost. I doubt it will be an issue, this years planting is on the bank and not in a frost hollow. It’s also south facing and any frosts should be burnt off quickly by the sun. If there is a frost, then it will be accompanied by sunshine ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Bog Lizard - Globulus and Rosehips 041121
Bog Lizard - Globulus and Frost 041121
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General Eucalyptus update October 21

The video says it all, there’s been a noticeable difference in growth this year with several trees thickening up in the trunk. Another year and they really will be trees rather than saplings. Though some of the “samplings” are easily six metres tall now, especially the Nitens and Gunnii that I planted just before the frosts of February 2019. An impressive growth rate, and I’m looking forward to coppicing the Gunnii and thinning out the Nitens for firewood in a year or two.

I’ve continued to plant with new varieties:

all vigorous swamp gums

Also some of the snow gums:

  • Coccifera
  • Pauciflora, I intend to plant more Pauciflora on the bank up by the poly tunnel for shelter and also to consolidate the bank, or ditch as it’s called here in Ireland

Three varieties of Ash trees, the Eucalyptus varieties:

  • Regnans
  • Obliqua
  • Fastigata, a variety of Eucalyptus which I think has good potential as constructional timber. Its already being trialed in New Zealand for this purpose.
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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