hi all

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9 years 4 months ago #34247 by 2tankahmon
hi all was created by 2tankahmon
i work away in a 140 acre gully with about 25 acres of gums, wattles and a few european trees. the rest is regenerating, middle-aged natives with two separate blocks of solid adult kanuka. i resite a lot of natives and have brought in a lot too - some before i realised we had them growing somewhere anyway! i'm 66.
we've owned the property outright for about 30 years. it's 'separation point granite' - a skeleton soil of mostly granite sand with a thin topsoil left over from pre 1920's sheep farming/burning, and uncontrolled stock grazing since. there's an old road that used to be the only access past here to awaroa and totaranui, that winds its way thru our land. it was put in for horse-drawn traffic, so has a gentle slope.
early on i started a fire that got out of control - hence the patch of gums. didn't have any experience of trees then. the gums are mostly ash species, which the then forest service [now doc] recommended. the fraxinoides eucs have done particularly well, putting on about 2" in width each year now, mostly straight and true and up to a metre thru. aussies say: "they don't grow like that at home!"
a couple of years ago i bought a mahoe portable sawmill. we milled a few gums that were too close to the mill shed and learnt that the butt logs and sometimes the next log up are all that's usable for timber. above that, planks tend to come off with a banana-like curve, especially if they've been growing on a lean, pushed out from behind.
last year we had to fell several dozen, many leaners, thru fear of them falling on buildings. that was quite an act! we'd been warned by branches and some 'scrubbers' denting roof peaks. i'm scared stiff of them now and wont even attempt to fell big ones without professional help.
down here in the sth. island there's still not much interest in gum timber, but it will only need a few pioneers to take the plunge and put in a floor or staircase of say botriodes timber to start convincing builders and home owners. the old days of non-timber grade gums causing milling/building problems are long gone. i've come to see that even tho they're such a size already, they're mainly still too immature for profitable milling.
my main joy is in seeing the native regeneration happening. every year seems to be 'the year' for some newcomer i haven't noticed before.
on wednesday the 14th of december 2011 we had an unprecedented flood here in wainui bay. it could've been the worst in 500 years! many acres of gradually built up swamps and topsoil along our two-creek drainage system disappeared out into the bay where it now causes the wainui river to top its banks after even a moderately heavy rain. i've heard it said that such a catastrophic event doesn't just alter the ecosystem - it replaces it with a whole new ball game! the creeks are at least twice as deep as they were, and they've been eroded down to bedrock by tumbling, fridge-size boulders that were unmoved for centuries. the two creek crossings i originally put meter-thru humespun culverts in got taken out big time, with the pipes broken and deposited up to a kilometer away. i was here alone on the night of the 14th and got woken up 5 times by the sound of massive rock and wood dams giving way. i was going: "how high is the house above the creeks again?"
we have our own hydro power - a soma watter micro unit that's been modernised since the devastation and now gives us about 7amps of current.
i'm interested in anyone doing anything similar. cheers!

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9 years 4 months ago #452013 by wandering free
Replied by wandering free on topic hi all
Wow, now that sounds like hard work, and welcome to LSB, it does seem a pity more isn't being done with Eucalyptus but burning them, 30 odd years ago Tree-crops was promoting growing them, don't know what came of some Eucalyptus delegatensis we planted on 10 acres we had on Masies Rd in Redwoods valley, but boy did they grow, couldn't believe anything could grow so fast on what was essentially a dry solid clay, they left some Radiata well behind.

Have you tried Oak trees, I don't know how good the timber would be but they can grow pretty fast in NZ, we grew some here in Hope when we first came here, but on 2 acres they soon out grew the place, I did find they would make a good coppice plant as they took a lot of killing off, we did use some of the wood for smoking herrings, it reminded me of Whitby in the UK were it's the traditional smoke for kippers.

Bryan

Just me and the cat now, on 2 acres of fruit and veg + hazel nuts, macadamia, chestnuts and walnuts,
www.youtube.com/user/bandjsellars?feature=mhee

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9 years 4 months ago #452069 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic hi all
The problem with the sawmills in the Nelson province is that they are designed for pine trees grown in the Arctic, where it takes 100 years for them to get to a diameter of 20 cm. Thus the mills are designed for small old trees, rather than big old trees. Gum tree milling was forgotten about when the Nelson mills upgraded, so now the only timber available has the consistency and durability of butter.

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9 years 4 months ago #452238 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic hi all
An interesting introduction, 2tankahmon, welcome! :)Maybe we could have a "native tree species on my block" thread.

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9 years 4 months ago #452284 by Aquila
Replied by Aquila on topic hi all
Eucalyptus grows in a tight spiral and tries too unwind as you mill it causing heaps of nasty problems. It splits as it dries which makes it useable for very few things decking being one, known as vitex

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