Rising From The Ashes: Determining Fruit Tree Survival After A Bushfire Has Passed


Residents of Victoria have already been warned that this year's bushfire season will start early, with a long, hot summer to follow. As a new Victorian resident, you have schooled yourself on what to do when a bushfire threat is imminent, but do you know what to do with your fruit trees after the fire has gone? Knowing the basics of what to look for after your trees have been burned will leave you more confident about making the decision on which trees must be removed, and which can remain.

Does A Tree Need To Be Burned To Be Damaged?

You may assume that just because your trees are not showing any sign of burn damage, they escaped the fire unharmed. This is not necessarily true, because the radiant heat in the air from the bushfire could have caused damage you cannot immediately see.

On the other side of the coin, not all trees showing burn damage need to be removed. It is possible for leaves to be burnt but for the limbs of the tree to survive. What you need to do is an assessment of whether the tree can recover.

How To Assess Burned Trees

Once you are confident there are no residual embers in the area that could flare up, it is time to head outside and look at your fruit trees one at a time. There are three points to consider while you do this assessment:

  1. A tree that is completely burned black and shows no signs of life at all should be removed now. This tree is now weak and has no solid grounding in the soil, which makes it a danger. It could fall over and take out healthy trees with it as it falls to the ground.
  2. If the tree is only slightly scorched, you could take the wait-and-see approach. The full effect of the fire may not be seen for several weeks, so remove any remaining fruit on the tree and wait. By removing the fruit, you are allowing nutrients and water to strengthen the living parts of the tree. The fruit may be tainted by fire retardants used to extinguish flames, so it should not be eaten anyway.
  3. If you are not 100% confident about making the call for the removal of the tree, remove part of the outside tree bark with a screwdriver. Beneath the bark is the cambium of the tree. Cambium that is brown and dry indicates the tree is dead, but cambium that is light and moist indicates the tree is still very much alive.

While tree removal is important after the flames have been put out, it is also important you don't prematurely remove fruit trees that have survived the trauma. While it is hoped you never have to face the aftermath of a bushfire's fury, you now know how to decide which of your trees will stay or go. For more information, you may want to contact a local tree removal company. 


9 November 2015

Saving Unhealthy Trees: Tricks, Strategies, Tips and More

Seeing a tree die can be sad, especially if it's the only shade tree in your yard, a tree you grew up climbing or a once bountiful fruit tree. However, surprisingly, many trees that people seem to give up on can actually be saved. I hate the idea of anyone losing a tree, so I decided to start a blog. This blog is going to have tips I have learned as a lifelong gardener as well as things I have learned while researching trees and botany in general. I hope you like these posts and that they eventually help you save a few trees!