/Brad Patten

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So far Brad Patten has created 7 blog entries.

Poisonous Plants in Australia

About 1000 species of plants in Australia are known to be toxic to humans and fauna. Some may cause skin and eye irritation, rashes and other forms of discomfort, but there are those which, if ingested, may cause vomiting and diarrhoea and worse, if medical attention is not obtained. The Oleander was a common plant in Australia, but has reduced in number due to increasing knowledge about its toxicity. If any part of the plant is ingested it can be fatal, especially for children. Fortunately, the leaves are very bitter, so children are not generally tempted to eat them. None the less, these plants should not be planted in areas where children play. Deadly Nightshade, also known as “devil’s berries” [...]

Tree Facts|

Holes in Tree Trunks

Occasionally, holes develop in the trunk of a tree. Sometimes these are visible, but other times they are not easily detected. What causes this and will it kill the tree? The short answer is that a hollow tree may continue to thrive for many years, and the decay of the inside deadwood is a natural part of the life cycle of a tree. The centre of the tree trunk was once the sapling timber, and as the tree grows, stronger layers are built around this sapling wood, until the strength of the outer trunk is what supports the canopy. The trunk of a tree has two purposes – to support the canopy and to carry water and sap from the [...]

Tree Facts|

Gardening Apps for your Phone

Did you know that there are applications you can download to your mobile phone which will help you be a better gardener? Although most do not specifically include Australian flora, they are still very useful in identifying garden plants, insects, plant diseases and pests. They also assist with planning and caring for a garden, be it vegetable, herb or flower. Yates have an app called Yates My Garden App which provides a wealth of advice to help you design, grow and manage your garden. There is also a link which provides access to a horticulturalist to answer your questions. You can join their Garden Club and share ideas and learn from others. For those starting out, this app could be [...]


Trees can get sunburned in cold weather

Did you know that plants and trees can get sunburned? Much like our sunburn, if a tree or plant gets too much strong sunlight it can develop lesions, or damaged spots which allows diseases to enter the plant’s system. This is called sun-scald. Sun-scald, unlike sunburn, does not occur in summer, near the beach. It occurs in cold climates, where there are extremes of temperature. Tree sun-scald often occurs in young trees, because the sapling has a softer exterior, more influenced by sharp changes in weather. Once a plant has been damaged by sun-scald, it cannot be repaired. Prevention is the only cure. Sun-scald is a winter time injury to tree trunks caused by unseasonally warm weather. The sun is [...]

Tree Facts|

Widow maker gum trees, and why you should clear the deadwood

Australia is home to an enormous variety of Eucalyptus trees, which can grow to over 40 metres in height. Although they are naturally beautiful and house many species of Australian fauna, including koalas and possums, they can be a danger to humans in populated areas. Giant eucalypts have a habit of dropping heavy branches earning them the nickname of Widow Maker. These gum trees preserve their health during periods of drought or inadequate water supply by allowing some branches to dry out and break off – a sort of self pruning. As an increasing number of roads, buildings, concrete slabs and paths and other plants limit the availability and access to water for these tree giants, our suburban areas are [...]

Tree Facts|

Home Insurance: Do I need to remove trees near my house?

You might look at that unwieldy tree hanging over your roof and think, “Good thing I have home insurance!” But will your insurance policy cover damages caused by an unmaintained tree on your property? This is a very important question that you should ask your insurance provider. However, we can offer you this general advice: Probably not. It is unlikely that your insurer will pay out a claim to cover the cost of damage created by a hazardous tree on your property. Since they consider it reasonable for you to take care of any such hazards to yourself. The vast majority of insurance policies contain a clause like this: “The home owner is required, at their own expense, to perform [...]


Why do trees grow straight?

Have you ever wondered how plants and trees know which way is up? Even when they are growing on the side of a steep hill trees still manage to point themselves to the sky. All plants have a way to interpret gravity and use that sense to send their roots downward and their branches upward. In the top of new shoot, and in the bottom of a root, a cluster of cells are found that are continually dividing and therefore responsible for new growth. Inside these cells are miniature starch granules which are affected by gravity. These starch granules will always sit in the bottom of the cell, so the cell knows which way is down. Using auxin, a plant [...]

Tree Facts|