Monday, October 17, 2016

Amongst the gum trees

I love the gum trees on our property, but I only recently realised that so many of the trees ARE gum trees.  I was lucky enough to pick up a book called Gum: the story of eucalypts and their champions by Ashley Hay (affiliate link), that our local library was selling off, so I only paid $2 for it, but its a great little book.  I was hoping to learn about gum trees and how to identify the different types, but instead I learnt about the complicated history of the taxonomy of gum trees.  Its a fascinating story, with chapters about Cook's botanist Joseph Banks, to Ferdinand Muller who continued Joseph's work and then May Gibbs, author of the gum tree baby comics and books.  Apparently there are hundreds of types of gum trees in Australia (and millions of gum trees) and they are all hardwood.

They are great for firewood if the wood is split and allowed to dry out.  Some gum trees grow straight and tall, perfect for fence posts and building materials.  Others have many branches and make great shade trees.  Some are so hard they are impossible to split.

The book got me interested in identifying our gum trees, but also made the task seem impossible with so many varieties and some can be unique to a small area.  I wasn't sure if I would ever know what trees we had, but we then stopped in at the Gympie Woodworks Museum and had a chance to speak to some expert "timber getters".  Lucky for us a few of them had worked in our area and knew the type of country we live on.  They told us that we probably have Red Leaf Iron Bark and Blue River Gums.  He also told us that our wattles are probably brown, hickory and ferny leaf varieties.  He had an amazing knowledge of the trees in and around Nanango and Yarraman, I was very impressed!

Anyway, I really just wanted to share some photos of the beautiful gum trees on our property! I love their colours, the different bark and leaves, some of them are incredibly tall, and all provide lovely shade for our animals, firewood for us and homes for wildlife.

The iron barks on a misty morning
Bruce and Rocket eating among the gum trees
A kookaburra helps us clean up a pile of wood felled by previous tenants

Do you love gum trees too?  What do you use them for?


  1. I love gum trees too and as kiwi I am still learning all their names, it helps having an arborist for a hubby. I have to say I love the new blog heading. I wonder if you can tell me how you make a header like that? I cannot seem to work it out. I really want a few pictures up there but cannot find anything out in the help sections. If you can help or point me inthe right direction flick me an email.

  2. Why thank you Fiona, there's a neat blog called clover lane that explains how to do those banners using picasa, have a look in the tutorials

    Clover Lane

  3. I love the smell of crushed box leaves. I don't like any eucalyptus in the garden! They suck up all the moisture. The wood is fantastic for burning though.

  4. I love our eucalypts, but also fear them. I've lived along side several giant blue mountains bush fires, and these trees burn like nothing else! In my area we have what they call ghost gums, which are super white trunked! Stunning! We also have gums that have the tiny insects that leave scribbles on them ( Scribbly gums ) and next door has a peppermint leaved gum and a lemon leaved gum ( both smell like that when I mow them! ) my favourite type is the one that grows shorter and has the giant red flowers! I'm fascinated by the rainbow barked eucalypts and I love the kind that get super long leaves. I don't prefer the taste of chook eggs from eucalyptus heavy areas. They actually have a faint eucalyptus taste to them!

    We mainly burn iron ark in our slow combustion stove. I believe it comes from Queensland.

  5. We've got lots of eucalypts here and most of the property is "Land for Wildlife" so we don't cut them but if they fall then we use them. We have lots of wildlife using the trees koalas, birds and possums.

  6. There are some useful varieties of eucalyptus, but there are some which are just weeds and a blight to the landscape. My particular nemesis is the Spotted Gum. It has a lot of vigour in establishing but this towering giant, will drop large branches to survive low rainfall. Not much can live under it, so it tends to take over large amounts of land. It doesn't do a great deal for building soil fertility.

    I prefer the Swamp Mahogany, which does grow here too. It's a little slower to establish, which is why the Spotted gum can easily dominate. But it has denser bark, which is harder to catch alight in a bushfire. It also won't drop as many branches as a spotted gum will, meaning its safer to walk under them.


Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

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