Tree Talk.

The Heart Morass is a three thousand two hundred acre stretch of flood plain bordering the lower Latrobe River, which over the last eighteen years has been transformed from a severely degraded state to the vibrant re-vegetated wetland area it is today. This is thanks to the Wetlands Environmental Taskforce and partners, click here for more information. A recent visit with a friend who has been involved and knows the area intimately was ostensibly for birding, but gradually trees claimed our interest, leading to this post. Salinity has had a big effect on the red gums in the country around Lake Wellington, with large numbers of mature old trees dying. In the Heart MorassĀ  the picture is varied, in some areas the old trees are struggling, while elsewhere they are healthy. The plantings are generally looking good, and there are significant areas of profuse natural regeneration. This area is where the river red gum and the forest red gum populations merge, and it is easy to find hybrid trees if one may call them that. On this visit the trees were not in bud to enable identification, that is a project for another visit in the near future. This post covers two main tree subjects of interest from the visit, the first concerns two trees that had been under attack from what were possibly/probably Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. The ground under both trees was littered with small nodules of bark excised from the trunks, one tree had the bottom metre of bark largely removed and lying in a carpet around the trunk. The other had been worked on up the trunk and along the branches, click images for a larger viewing.

In horticulture there is a process known as inarching, or approach grafting. When two tree members unite naturally it is known as inosculation, and along the river in the Heart Morass there are many quite spectacular examples of this natural grafting. It occurs most often in trees with many, often contorted branches, very possibly river red gums which will be positively identified at a later date. Here are some examples, click to enlarge.

In this next example two trees have united.

And here is a graft forming.

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