Spotted gums leave their mark on region
AT this time of year, especially after a few windy storms, the roads and paddocks can be littered with patches of bark that have fallen from a common local hardwood - the spotted gum.
Many trees, even in close proximity, shed their bark at different times with different coloured bark.
A shedding spotted gum is an attractive pattern of grey, pink and cream colours and shapes that suddenly becomes clean.
After the bark has completely sloughed off a clean, smooth, cool and very tactile trunk remains.
Find a good tree and feel the texture. Often described at this stage as a sensuous tree, the new bark often contains a number of small dimple; the appearance of which lends to its name.
Spotted gums prefer the shaly ridges that have a heavy clay layer not far below the surface.
In fact, this type of soil is referred to as spotted gum ridges.
Here the trees grow slowly and over a long period of time, often five or more decades, develop into one of the top hardwood timber trees.
It has been suggested that there are more spotted gums in California, Brazil and South Africa than in their home country. Large plantations have been established in many overseas countries, which is a testimony to the quality of the timber produced.
The best timber is the slowest grown and while spotted gum will grow on better soils it is thought that timber quality is not as good.
A recent name change from eucalyptus maculata to corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata, breaks down into corymbos for clusters of flowers and citriodora meaning citrus scented (leaves)..
Poor management of native hardwood stands over a long time has meant that spotted gums are now in short supply.
Spotted sum timber dresses to a medium red and is used extensively for construction, panelling, furniture, poles and flooring.
The species does not produce flowers each year, but can have massive flowerings about each decade when localised areas can be covered in white flowers and thousands of birds, possums and bats feeding and making a deafening noise.
A good sized mature spotted gum grows to about 30 metres plus and about a metre in diameter.