Beechmont Landcare – Frost

A tree in Beechmont Pioneer Reserve frost-bitten in the early May coldsnap.
A tree in Beechmont Pioneer Reserve frost-bitten in the early May coldsnap.

Winter came early to Beechmont this year with a frost in early May.

All across the plateau there are patches of brown in the lower areas, where frost had settled.  

Susceptible plants in Beechmont Pioneer Reserve are showing frost damage and we will have to wait until the weather warms up to see which ones survive winter.

Cafe Metz

This damage happens most years so we expect a certain amount of attrition.  We are always moving two steps forward and one step back.  The aim is to get the trees strong and tall enough in the warmer months so that they are above the freezing ground temperatures.

Not all plants get frostbitten.  In our recent May working bee, a few days before the frost, we planted Lomandra longifolia along the creek and they are fine.  In really hard frosts though even these can fail.  We have a list of plants that we have found to be most frost hardy, compiled by Susan Cully.

Dealing with frost draws into focus the complexity of regrowing forests.  Unlike our gardens where we can watch the progress of our plants, in the reserves it is much more about the survival of the fittest.    Along with wind, fire, drought, flood and the heat the winter frost  is a reminder of why we should be circumspect about demolishing forests.

The old trees of the forests are real survivors and deserve our respect.