Posted on: 30 April 2015
Australia's diverse array of dangerous wildlife has made it somewhat notorious in the rest of the world, and it's not difficult to see why when even the trees might attack you. There are a number of native Australia tress that pose a danger to animals, other plants and even humans, and if you own a garden or private land where these trees grow, there are good cases for having them professionally removed.
Gum trees are some of the most common and widely spread trees in Australia, and come in a diverse array of species. With their large size, hardy nature and ability to grow in almost any kind of soil and climate, they are often planted by landowners and local councils as ornamental trees. However, in recent years this has become an increasingly controversial practice—and a lethal one.
Gum trees have become notorious for dropping their heavy branches in the summer without warning. To a layman's eye, a branch that is about to drop can appear entirely normal, and only trained arborists and tree surgeons can spot the warning signs. In a recent incident, a young child was killed after a gum tree branch unexpectedly fell on her, and thus calls to remove gum trees in public spaces have increased.
Obviously, if your gum trees are on private land that is not used often by people, the danger is greatly reduced, but if you have a gum tree in your garden, particularly one with long, overhanging branches, consider having the branches lopped, or even having the whole tree removed.
Commonly known as a stinging bush, the gympie is a small, venomous tree with a fearful reputation, and for good reason. The leaves of the gympie bear hollow spines filled with a vicious neurotoxin that causes excruciating pain that can linger for months or even years—even a glancing brush with a gympie leaf can deliver a terrible sting. In addition to the pain, allergic reactions causing sneezing, swelling and painful hives can also develop, particularly from repeated exposure.
It goes without saying that any gympie that you find on your land should be removed, and that under no circumstances should you attempt the job yourself. Professional tree removers, with protective clothing, face masks and goggles, should always be hired.
Also, make sure that the professionals you hire know in advance that they will be removing a gympie tree. Some companies refuse to work on these trees, both to protect their employees and over legal liability concerns. The easiest way to recognise a gympie from a safe distance is by its large, heart shaped leaves and small pink flowers.
If you're in New South Wales, you may encounter legal problems with having the tree removed as it is considered an endangered species there, so check with local authorities first.
Tree of heaven
The tree of heaven, an invasive species imported from China, is tall and rather beautiful, but get close to it and you'll see why it's often referred to as the 'tree of hell'. The tree exudes a particularly disgusting odour, particularly during the summer months, and while it is not dangerous to humans or animals, the effect this smell can have on surrounding wildlife is devastating.
The distinctive stench of a tree of heaven actually comes from a chemical it exudes call ailanthone, which is a form of natural herbicide that kills or stunts nearby plants. The tree also has an extensive, fast-growing root system, that has the ability to sprout new trees that remain connected to one another. In some parts of the country you can see thickets of genetically identical trees of heaven, all connected to the same root system, that have killed all other plant life in the area. You definitely do not want this tree on your land if you value wildlife diversity.
Removing the tree is a difficult process, due to the long, tough roots and the trees ability to sprout from even a tiny amount of root that hasn't been removed. Tree removers like A Green Tree Lopping Service will often have to dig up substantial portions of land to remove all the roots, or else chop down the tree and administer specialised poisons directly into the stump. Trying to remove the tree yourself can be dangerous, and can actually make the problem worse if you're not attentive, as many new trees sprout from the remaining root system of one.Share