Ginninderra News

05 Nov 2019

Red Gum trials to boost ACT Woodlands

A collaborative effort to bolster the future of Blakely’s Red Gum in the endangered Box-Gum Woodlands has seen around 1000 seedlings planted at CSIRO Ginninderra.

Seven thousand Blakely’s Red Gum (Eucalyptus blakelyi) seedlings, sourced from different regions, are being planted across the ACT to improve endangered Box-Gum Woodland habitat, and to better understand how native species can adapt to climate change.

Although in the right conditions Blakely’s Red Gum can produce numerous new young trees, those new trees are limited in their genetic diversity as they are produced only from seed from their surrounding parent trees.

Also you may have noticed across the region during this Spring (see photo below from CSIRO Ginninderra) many of the Blakely’s leaves are red. This is the result of insect damage from a native sap sucking insect called psyllids, and these insect attacks place ‘dieback induced stress’ often leading to decline in the tree condition.

This collaboration between the ACT Government, CSIRO, Greening Australia and ACT rural landholders, will trial seed collected from Blakely’s Red Gums in the ACT, NSW, Queensland and Victoria and aim to understand the genetic make-up that may provide resistance to dieback and resilience in a changing climate.

Blakely’s Red Gums are a key component of woodlands that are spread throughout the ACT, and provide important habitat for native wildlife.

In addition to around 1,000 seedlings that have been planted at Ginninderra, up to 3,500 seedlings are being planted in Kowen Forest; 1,500 on rural land at Tidbinbilla Station; and 850 will be planted on rural land in the Naas Valley.

Information will be collected on the survival, growth and condition of these new seedlings in upcoming years and will also help us understand in the longer term if new and possibly better climate adjusted provenances will contribute to improving the condition of our woodlands over the longer term.

Blakely’s Red Gum at Ginninderra this spring with red leaves on some of the juvenile trees showing evidence of psyllid attack.

Site prepared for Blakely’s Red Gum trials at CSIRO Ginninderra (above and below)

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