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Strawberry Creek Tour

8. Eucalyptus Grove

Retrace your steps up the path, turn left on the bicycle path, and cross the wooden footbridge into the Eucalyptus Grove. In 1882, this grove of Tasmanian blue gums (Eucalyptus globulus) was planted as a windbreak for the old cinder running track. It is the tallest stand of hardwood trees in North America and the tallest stand of this type of eucalyptus in the world.

Why is there a lack of undergrowth in the grove? Do eucalyptus take up the soil water that other plants need? Does the canopy create shady conditions too dark for other plants? Is it because they have compounds in their leaves that prevent other plants from growing (allelopathy)? Or is it from people trampling the undergrowth?

Eucalyptus were introduced to California; they have few natural herbivores, such as the koala bear, here. As a result, they look much healthier than in their native Australia.

Notice how the eucalyptus trees shed their shaggy bark. By regularly doing this, the trees also shed bark-burrowing insects that cause disease.

Wander through the grove and find the confluence of the South and North Forks of Strawberry Creek that combine to form the main branch of the stream. Follow the North Fork upstream. Where does it go? It disappears into a large culvert.

The sickle shaped leaves of the bluegum eucalyptus