Some Eucalyptus good for your land

Eucalyptus tree credit: africamuseum.be
Eucalyptus tree credit: africamuseum.be

My parents have a piece of land that becomes water-logged in rainy times. When we first moved to that place, it was a disaster. We had to constantly clear water flooding into our house when it rained. We, my siblings and I, recently built a house for them on that piece of land. They haven’t moved in yet, but with the coming of El Niño, I got to think of  how it will be when rains start hitting hard.

Then I bumped into this random site that gave facts about Eucalypus trees. I immediately thought, that’s it!

My dad loves planting trees and he has transformed the piece of otherwise dismissed as a waste of land about a decade ago. Maybe that’s what has improved the drainage of the land. A few maybe two eucalyptus trees can be a good idea to add on to the greenery.

The trees would solve the problem of flooding that is experienced in the land.

If you plant eucalyptus trees near waterbeds, the roots will sense the presence of moisture, and will thus open the stomata very wide allowing a lot of water to be lost from the soil. But if the same trees are planted in a high-land area, they will sense the reduced soil moisture content, and thus close the stomata as much as possible to retain the little available water. This is according to Muraya Minjire, a tree nursery expert with KEFRI.

My friend Elaine & I, with a background of dad's greenery
My friend Elaine & I, with a background of dad’s greenery (2006).

Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate, the late Professor Wangari Maathai was against the planting of these alien species of trees in Kenya due to their water guzzling quality.The eucalyptus, which is called the water drinker or guzzler (“munyua mai”) in Kikuyu, could just be the solution for water logged pieces of land. This should not be a commercial venture, judging from the arguments against the tree species.

One thing I love about going upcountry is the aroma of Eucalyptus in the air. I am sure that the aroma is from mixed species of trees, but Eucalyptus is definitely a part of the cocktail. The same aroma that I get along Upper Hill road in Nairobi. It just makes me long for a weekend vacation upcountry. They have the advantage of cleaning the air in the atmosphere.

It has been proven that the tree absorbs carbon in the air and could be the solution to fighting greenhouse gasses. A study found that in Central Province, a one-hectare piece of land with 840 eucalyptus saligna trees sequestered 337 tonnes of carbon over eight years. Now that place could use a little air freshening help from our Eucalyptus friends.

Several houses in Nairobi are built in water logged, or swampy areas. You get high rise flats that one can hardly live on the ground floor. Usually, one notices after about a month of moving in. There is usually a moldy smell accompanied by peeling of paint and ruin of your furniture.

Landlords have a way of concealing this aspect by painting the house and making it look impressive to a potential tenant. Instead of using such underhand means to get tenants, maybe planting some few Eucalyptus trees would be the solution.

It should be noted however that though the trees have lots of benefits, they are very flammable. Eucalyptus contains a kind of oil that is so flammable that the trees can actually explode when they catch fire, yet survive fire. This is why around residential areas, I would recommend a few trees. This way, you as the landlord will not get in trouble with the Council and you would not be creating another problem.

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