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From: John I Jones <jijones@ix.netcom.com>

Jan Clark wrote:
> They sure have a habit of 'retiring' on a regular basis around here. It
> is quite common to hear or see a large branch or whole tree smashing to
> the ground, after wet weather. At least one or two a year, within
> hearing distance of our house, would be about average. My stepson is
> often reminded by his friends, of the time he was holding a conversation
> under a gum tree, and had a 6" diameter branch fall without warning, and
> land at his feet.

I think that a lot of the large "Eucs" here in northern California are Blue
Gums. They were originally planted because the railroad robber barons of
Californis imported them because they grew fast and thought they would make
great railroad ties. They don't! So now we have this miserable intruder all
over the place.

Yes, they do unexpectedly shed limbs, and not necessarily only small ones. I
have a large Euc at the back of my property (about 120 feet tall) and a couple
of years ago, in broad daylight, it dropped a 12" limb. For those of you who
don't know, Eucalyptus is a very heavy wood. This limb imbedded itself over 3
feet in to my hard clay. Must have weighed tons. It annually sheds some limbs,
most not anywhere near that big, but almost always heavy enough to do you in
if it hit you squarely. I have heard that Eucs are nicknamed "widow makers" in
the land of oz.

I try not to spend much time under mine. As to Lorraine's question about
growing under them: I would venture that if they are in an old well
established grove the soil under them is so saturated with the oil from the
leaves that it would make growing anything under them very difficult for years.

John                     | "There be dragons here"
                         |  Annotation used by ancient cartographers
                         |  to indicate the edge of the known world.

John Jones 
To reply to me personally click on
Fremont, California, USA, Earth, USDA zone 8/9 (coastal, bay) 
Max high 95F/35C, Min Low 28F/-2C average 10 days each
Heavy clay base for my raised beds.
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