The Dangers of Gum Trees

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Gum trees are an Australian trademark when it comes to the world of flora and fauna. With over 800 species of eucalyptus discovered by botanists, they aren’t hard to come by Down Under. But our much-loved Australian gums don’t always love us back (especially here in QLD)! In fact, they can be extremely dangerous and cause a lifetime of damage in some cases. In this post, we explore some of the reasons to consider whether you want that big old gum in your backyard or if it’s safer to get it removed.

What are the dangers of gum trees?

Falling limbs from eucalyptus trees have resulted in serious injuries and in certain tragic cases, loss of life. Here on the Sunshine Coast, downed gums have caused a lot of stress for many residents recovering from severe weather in recent years. The last thing you want to see when you walk outside the house is your car squished underneath one. Royal Botanic Gardens’ chief botanist, Brett Summerell, said to ABC Radio Sydney that he could understand the concerns regarding falling gum trees following intense weather conditions throughout the summer. “As much as I love them, I was starting to think a little more nervously about eucalypts. So, I think it’s something people are thinking about,” he added.

Eucalyptus leaves are highly flammable

With oil-filled leaves and bark that sheds by the day, these vulnerable trees can catch fire very quickly. The devastation we faced with the bush fires is something we should all be a lot more cautious of and educated on, to ensure we aren’t putting ourselves at risk. “To certain a degree you can read the fire risk of the country by what the eucalypts are doing because they’re the ones that have been around for a long time and they’ve taken the bet,” said David Bowman, an ecologist at the University of Tasmania.

Large limbs are on the loose

Most, if not all, trees shed limbs, but they rarely shed large ones, which can cause a whole heap of damage when they do. It’s not uncommon for them to drop several branches due to rot and extended drought. This is particularly dangerous because it doesn’t just happen to diseased trees or ones that wilt with discolouration, it can also happen to healthy-looking trees which don’t give us as much notice.

All tied up

Gum tree branches can also become an unwanted problem when they intertwine with overhead electrical cables and wires. This isn’t something you want to mess with. If the tree grows around or along power lines, it falls within the high-risk category because it’s creating a path for electricity to travel to the ground. People that come into contact with this path face the risk of being electrocuted or suffering significant electrical burns.

Getting to the root of the problem

Eucalyptus tree roots, which are planted in urban areas, can affect paths, curbs and even gutters. The roots and rootlets of gums can disturb water pipes and crack septic tanks and cisterns – it’s an unpleasant job you and your pocket don’t want to have to deal with. The way shallow eucalyptus roots grow and produce a secondary thickening growth means they can also pull up paved surfaces.

For more information on how to manage gum trees, call our friendly team today on 0417127267. All of our staff are qualified arborists. We have many years of experience in the industry from working on gum trees across the Sunshine Coast.