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Eucalyptus or Willow Coppice ๐Ÿค”

Bog Lizard - Coppice Eucalyptus or Willow

Guess this depends on where you are, i.e. your climatic conditions.

Another factor would be what you would use the coppice for ? Willow is used for basket weaving. I haven’t come across any information which suggests that any Eucalyptus can be used for a similar purpose, though its not something I would rule out, Eucalyptus is very bendy.
Willow is used to make, furniture, small utility items such as bowls, but its most notable use is for making cricket bats, due to its high shock resistance.
There are at least seven hundred varieties of Eucalyptus ! and its timber is used for general constructional and the wood is considered to be rot resistant, something that can’t be said of Willow.

Anyway, so far as my small plot is concerned the main use will be as sustainable firewood, fuel for the stove.

Here in Ireland, Willow or Sailes grow wild and whereas in Scotland, most land in the highlands reverts to Birch scrubland, I’d say here in Ireland it would be Willows that would take over.
At the time of writing I haven’t burnt Willow; Birch is excellent firewood.

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Wet firewood ๐Ÿ˜ง

Wet firewood ๐Ÿ˜ง this certainly shocked me ๐Ÿ˜ง

I was expecting perhaps half a pint of water for each log, but more than a full imperial pint !
I suspect even the reasonable firewood that you buy from the petrol stations etc. won’t be that dry.

The regulations in Ireland from what I understand is less that 15% moisture content. If the logs I dried had a 15% moisture content, then they’d still be too wet in my opinion.
At 15% half a pint of water would need to be boiled off per log, so say six logs in your fire, then three pints ! remarkable !

Considering how easy it is to dry in a poly tunnel, and Eucalyptus that I dried out last year in the poly tunnel took nine weeks to be less than 10% moisture content. A year later and I’d estimate it is less than 5% which is getting to the dryness I would consider acceptable.
Firewood is a very good fuel, but it does need to be dry ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Pulverulenta Re-growth

The Pulverulenta didn’t look great after the severe and prolonged cold snap at the end of 2022. A few were fine, though there was a lot of brown and burnt foliage with dead seed capsules and flower buds.

Very disappointed about the dead flower buds as last February they were covered in flowers and the bees loved them. So pleased to discover that there are some flowers now, quite a bit later, its May.

Once I’d cleared the vegetation I was delighted to see new growth from the stumps and stems. I should have looked more closely, though I don’t think I did too much damage with my enthusiastic vegetation control.

Pulverulenta sprouting from the base
Pulverulenta sprouting from the stem
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Walkabout May 23

2022 was certainly a challenging year for everything growing here at Clounsnaghta:

  • Very dry conditions during most of the year
  • A severe -7โ„ƒ cold snap at the end

The only thing missing was a severe gale, and interestingly there wasn’t much in the way of strong winds.

So now it is May 2023 and time to take a look at and see what has recovered, what grew despite everything and what won’t be coming back to life with the warmth and sunshine ๐Ÿ™

I encouraged, that the vast majority have not only survived, but are thriving ๐Ÿ™‚
A few that have succumbed, I will persevere with:

  • Regnans
  • Fastigata
  • Leucoxylon which I neglect to mention in the video
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The aftermath of the December 2022 severe weather event.

I am describing this as a severe weather event due to the prolonged frost, eleven nights below zero, a couple below -5โ„ƒ The other factor that for me categorises this as severe was the freezing fog especially during the mornings on several days. On a few days all day !

The coldest temperature recorded in Ireland was way back in 1881, -19.1โ„ƒ. During the freeze of 2010, the lowest temperature in Ireland was -17.5โ„ƒ
Source Met ร‰ireann

I couldn’t find any information pertaining to the average duration of frost periods, though other than the freeze of 2010 when I was in Scotland; I’d estimate less than five days, probably closer to the occasional day or two here and there.

So given that this was a particularly severe and unusual weather event, I am very pleased to report that the vast majority of my Eucalyputs trees are doing well.
The Paulownia are hardy to -20โ„ƒ and they are dormant at the moment, so no issues coping with -7โ„ƒ here.

The nice surprise is that the Regnans have done so well, and the disappointment, though not particularly a surprise is that the Robusta and Botryoides look like they have perished ๐Ÿ˜ข as I say in the video, I will persevere, this has been an unusually severe weather event.

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Trees regulate temperature ๐Ÿ˜‰

I already had some inkling that trees regulate temperatures from reading some reports and watching a few videos; here’s the evidence ๐Ÿ˜‰

Besides being a positive for farming, increasing the number of weeks per year livestock can graze outside, because it regulates temperature, it should reduce your energy / heating requirements during the winter, AC during the summer; an additional benefit to planting trees.

Eucalyptus grow fast and provided they are spaced far enough apart, will have access to nutrients and hydration required to enable them to retain their thick lush foliage.

There is a lot of overlap in the content I post to my web sites and social media, quite a lot about my weight gain and loss experience.
Besides the interesting information about the increased number of weeks livestock can graze during the year, what the gentleman in this video has to say about the micronutrients in food correlated with my own experience, i.e. I was malnourished because I wasn’t either the food I was eating didn’t contain enough of the nutrients I needed or my body wasn’t able to absorb them. Either way, other research I have done into mycorrhizal fungi suggests that fertiliser grown crops don’t establish mycelium networks and therefore don’t absorb the other nutrients that food should have as detailed in the video.

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Properly frosty โ„๏ธ

Today, the 9th of December 2022 is the first severe frost I have experienced while growing Eucalyptus here in Ireland. It’s about -5โ„ƒ and this cold and frosty weather is set to last another five or so days.

I’m confident that most of my Eucalyptus trees will be fine, and the freezing temperatures may actually be helpful and kill most of the Psyllid, larvae and ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿปeggs as well ๐Ÿ˜ though there are a few varieties that might be borderline survival ๐Ÿ™
Only time will tell…

The cold frosty weather can be very beautiful and although there was quite a lot of freezing fog first thing this morning, it was a magical experience ๐Ÿ™‚

Snowy morning with moon
Frosty Pulverulenta
Frosty Pauciflora
Frosty Parvula
Frosty Cinerea

The fog soon burnt off and it was a crisp blue sky day

Mini forest trees in the frost
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Paulownia & the Fox

The end of the growing season for the Paulownia for sure, with most of the leaves having fallen off, a slight frost and the rest turned Black and then shrivelled and turned brown.

The Eucalyptus carry on regardless, so although I am very curious to see how the Paulownia develop, I am still very much a fan of Eucalyptus and increasingly so:

  • To start with I was growing the Eucalyptus and the Paulownia for firewood. I won’t give up on the Paulownia just yet, though the Eucalyptus are so far much better at growing sustainable fuel.
  • Floral foliage wasn’t something I’d considered, though it is very popular
  • Flowers for bee’s. I’ve had quite a lot of flowers in the last year from my Eucalyptus and the bees love them ๐Ÿ with the Paulownia renowned for masses of purple flowers in early spring, another reason I am not giving up on the Paulownia.
  • Constructional timber ๐Ÿค” both Eucalyptus and Paulownia provide good quality timber with varied uses and as I am very keen on my wood working project, I look forward to trying to mill and use my own home grown timber ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Fox

Those of you who have followed along in the last twelve months will have noticed videos featuring my tame fox which I now think may be pregnant, its certainly become quite fat in the last four to six weeks !

The fox isn’t just for amusement, those it has been great to have it come visit.

There are Hares around here, and I love seeing them as well, though Paulownia are particularly palatable, and I doubt I would have had anything left with out the presence of the fox.
Lets consider the economics ๐Ÿค”

  • The fox has been 100% effective at keeping the Hares away
  • It costs perhaps โ‚ฌ5 max per week to feed the fox a few hard boiled eggs and the occasional chicken; it also gets the left over bread and other scraps from the kitchen including cheese.
  • I have around a hundred Paulownia, so if I was buying tree guards, around โ‚ฌ3 each and I doubt they would be 100% effective as Hares like other animals looking for a meal can be very determined.

So the fox is good economics ๐Ÿ˜‰ as well as being fun to have around ๐Ÿ˜

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First storm of the winter November 22

A very wet October and that looks to continue during November.
The forecast today is for 50kph sustained winds with gusts of 100kph ๐Ÿ˜ง I don’t think we are actually getting that here, more like 40kph and perhaps gusts of 80kph. Still a strong gale.

As I’ve said before, its not just the wind which is a factor affecting how well Eucalyptus and for that matter all trees fare during storms, its also the moisture in the ground. One benefit of this years dry spring and summer is that the Eucalyptus will have been forced to grow their roots in search of hydration, so I’m hopeful they will be even more wind resilient this year.

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Walkabout September 22

Despite the dry conditions, very little precipitation during the spring and summer, everything continues to grow, with the Eucalyptus Regnans, Nitens and other varieties putting on considerable growth in a year ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
There’s been a considerable increase in the amount of Eucalyptus flowers that have bloomed this year and many more of the Eucalyptus trees have developed flower buds, so I am expecting even more flowers next year.

I’ve started experimenting with Paulownia and Robinia Pseudoacacia.
Initially I’d hoped the Paulownia would produce rapid growth and good firewood fuel, though now don’t think they will be a major contributor to my renewable energy needs. Instead I think they will provide biodiversity and an abundance of flowers during the early spring.
So far I have only planted a few Robinia, Black Locust, though like the Paulownia some expectation of firewood and a high likelihood of increased biodiversity and an early blooming flowers.

I’ve started on my journey towards growing more of my own food, and part of the preparation involves digging out the pond area and using the soil for the salad beds in the poly tunnel.
Pleased to be making a start on this, the fresh food will help me with other goals I have set myself, and digging out the pond area and establishing a pond for wildlife will further increase biodiversity ๐Ÿ™‚