All About Trees

DRB Nats Meeting March 2020
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Well what a fabulous talk we were given for the second meeting of the year for DRB Nats club.

Michael Byrne from CPD tree services came to speak to us about ‘caring for trees in an urban forest’. What a treat! Michael is a qualified Arborist with a wealth of knowledge who describes himself as a ‘tree moderator’ the middle man between people and trees.

In 2006 Michael organised the first tree climbing competition to be held in Kings Park Botanical Gardens which also brought WA in line with other states in Australia.

Michael talks passionately about his work which involves many aspects including tree transplants, habitat installation, tree protection zones (which is calculated from a formula based on the diameter of the tree) and tree risk assessment.

He also participates in surveys for tracking animals such as the black cockatoos and other tree inhabitants. Michael describes the Wandoo tree as a multicultural hotel (a home for many creatures!!).

We have all seen the development of housing in our areas and the clearing of trees. Some of the benefits of the trees that were talked about included oxygen supply, reduction of air pollution, sequestration of carbon, reduced crimes rates, improved mental health and giving people an enhanced sense of place and belonging.

A close up of a tree

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With regards to pruning, we found out that trees don’t ‘heal’ their wounds, they seal them. All pruning causes wounds which is then an entry point for pathogens. The tree then compartmentalizes cells and produces callus tissue. Michael spoke to us about correct tree pruning and how pruning at the wrong time of year can add to the deterioration of a tree and, in some cases, kill the tree.

Michael spoke with such passion about his work, the trees and the environment he connects with so well, some of us came away thinking that trees really do have a heartbeat! He also talked about Dr Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist from the University of British Columbia who had discovered through research that there are underground communication networks between trees in North American forests.

Michael brought in wood samples to show us and samples of tree damage. We also watched some videos of Michael’s work. We were nervous just watching, never mind being on the end of a rope!!

Verity Clare

Michael Byrnes
Michael Byrne with tree samples Photo: Verity Clare

In addition to Michael’s talk we were also treated to Charles Porter, one of our younger members, giving a ‘kids’ talk on Pollinating Mammals of the South West. A great night for all those that attended!