Invasive green tree destroying water pipes in Aussie suburbs

The 'awesome looking tree' can break through water pipes and drink 400 litres per day.

A photo of a “very beautiful” bright green tree spotted in rural Australia has highlighted their potential danger following claims they “can break through water pipes and drink 400 litres a day”.

The Cadaghi tree eucalypt gum — endemic to northern Queensland and Papua New Guinea — has been deemed an “environmental weed” in many local government areas in Queensland, but has not yet been labelled a “declared” pest species, the Queensland Arboricultural Association Inc told Yahoo News Australia. It is a potential environmental weed in NSW.

The bright green the Cadaghi tree eucalypt gum in north Queensland.
A photo of the bright green Cadaghi tree has been described as the worse tree in Australia. Source: Facebook

On Monday, an Aussie posted an image of one of the “bloody messy” trees on Facebook, describing it as an “Australian native” from the “rainforest fringes of Far North Queensland”. “It has also been marked as invasive outside its original range,” a blogger posted on their Off Grid 4WD Australia page. “The root system is invasive and can break through water pipes and drink 400 litres per day. That said it’s an awesome looking tree.”

Experts respond to 'worst tree in Australia'

Numerous locals commented on the Facebook post, which gained hundreds of likes, warning other Aussies not to plant them near their sewerage pipes. “The worst tree in Australia! Ugh!” one person complained, while another commented “they are profuse here in the north”. “Extremely heavy limbs and can drop at any time. Never leave a car or camp under one,” they added.

The trees’ leaves are often affected by “sooty mould”, the Arboricultural Association said, which can also be observed in many other plants. “So this is not specific to this species; the sooty mould grows on the honeydew excreted by insects — to control the sooty mould all you need to do is control the insects”.

Craig Reid from the Australian Institute of Arboriculture told Yahoo that despite the online warning, Cadaghis “could not reasonably be considered to be any worse than any other species”.

“Soil moisture translocated by trees varies dramatically and is impacted by factors such as species, age, substrate i.e, quality of and water holding capacity of the soil, wind speed, temperature and general tree health,” he explained. “Many species belonging to the Mytaceae family possess adaptations to reduce water loss due to the dryness of the Australian continent.”

He also said the species is not considered any better or worse when it comes to branches and leaves falling. Craig said “trees are classed as ‘shedding organisms’.”

Craig Bauer, an arborist with North Brisbane Trees, agreed, telling Yahoo Cadaghis are not more prone to branch failure than other eucalyptus species.

“I'm not sure how much water they consume, however, I would guess they have only moderate water requirements as I've seen them do well in dry locations throughout Brisbane, ie on the tops of hills in freely draining soil, however like most trees they would prefer moist soil,” he said. “They're undesirable in urban positions as their sap attracts a black, sooty mould that can cover whatever is positioned underneath their canopy.”

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