Another Australian summer has come to an end, and once again there have been plenty of bushfires keeping fire brigades busy. Returning to a home after a bushfire moves through is frightening, as you don't know what to expect. As someone who has recently moved into a Victorian rural area, you already know how to prepare to flee if fires flare in your area. You also know what to do about your home when you return to find it is damaged. But, do you know what to do to help your native trees survive after the fire is gone? Time is of the essence, so use these tips to make sure your native trees thrive after a summer bushfire inferno.
Determining the salvageability of a tree
Bushfires do a lot of damage to native vegetation, but are all burned trees beyond saving? The answer lies with the type of tree and how much damage it sustained.
A eucalyptus tree, for example, may look charred and beyond repair. However, this type of tree has proven that it usually grows after a fire despite its appearance. Therefore, you must not automatically assume that it is necessary to fell all trees in a fire area. Instead, use a tree professional to help you determine which ones are a safety risk. Only trees which are in imminent danger of falling should be cut down at this time.
Once you address the immediate tree removal problem, it is advisable to wait a month or two to see which trees bounce back from this event.
Discovering whether a tree is recovering after a bushfire
If you do not have much experience with the cultivating and growing of trees, a tree service can help you to determine whether a tree is recovering from its burns. Interestingly, a tree may not look like it is healthy because of the charred bark, but under that bark, regrowth could be taking place. The most common indicator that there is still life in your native trees is the appearance of regrowth.
If you don't see any signs of regrowth, or if you're not 100% sure whether the tree is likely to survive, contact your local tree service company. They inspect the tree and give their opinion on which trees have the best chance still to thrive.
For the trees which do not show regrowth or signs of life, the tree service company can assist with chopping these dead trees down.
What to do with dead trees
One or two dead trees is one thing, but what do you do when you've lost many trees to bushfire? Do you need to remove them all? Trees in danger of falling and doing damage to other trees, fences or property need to be cut down. However, it is not necessary to remove all of them from your property once they are down on the ground.
Fallen trees provide shelter to small creatures such as birds, bats and possums. When these animals leave the area due to lack of housing, you get a situation where insect numbers rise, as these are the primary food source of these small creatures. Secondly, fallen trees provide shelter to new seedlings, as they plant themselves in the shadow of their fallen ancestors. The fallen tree protects the new seedling from wind damage as it establishes itself in the earth.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a bushfire enter your property, call on a tree service as soon as you can once it is safe to return to your home. They will help you determine which trees will live, which ones need monitoring, and which ones need to be dropped back to the earth to provide a home for other living things.