Growing Method for a Feature, Single Stemmed, Specimen Tree
Many Eucalyptus produce very stately specimen trees, making an excellent focal point. They add structure to the winter garden with interesting evergreen foliage, architectural habit and beautiful bark.
In this section we have:
Rules of Pruning
Many Eucalyptus have thin bark, so sharp implements are important to avoid tearing and ripping.
Being a little hairy around the trunk is ok.
The species with a more multi-stemmed habit tend to be bushy, pushing out many lower side branches (also known as 'feathers' in young trees). If you are after a single stem tree then retain these, but nip out the ends, keeping two to three pairs of leaves. If a branch becomes wayward, prune it back again, but do not remove it completely.
With time, the tree will naturally shed them as it becomes more mature.
Dead branches could and should be pruned out avoiding leaving dead snags.
Once mature, wispy bits can be trimmed off to clean up the trunk with no worries.
The faster growing species tend to shed their branches very quickly and require little pruning.
A little and often is best when young
Eucalyptus respond well to pruning and if the young tree becomes top heavy as it matures (approximately years three to eight), you can remove large amounts of branchlets and foliage without much ill effect. This will slow it down a bit, giving time to strengthen the stem and allow the root system to catch up.
Once established and growing with gusto, a young tree responds to heavy pruning by generating a great deal of epicormic growth from the trunks and larger branches, these tend to be vertical shoots and may require thinning out. It is also why initial placing of any tree is important, because you don't want it growing straight up into telegraph wires or power cables.
Time of year
Grow without a stake
The tree itself needs to be able to sway to strengthen the trunk. Strapping it to a full length tree stake will only weaken the tissues, resulting in the tree falling over.
See pruning for windy locations and correcting wind-throw.
Eucalyptus naturally produce a strong leader, but admittedly an arrow-straight trunk does not always follow. This is species dependent, but within a batch of trees, some develop an architectural but elegant shape, a trunk with a slight 'S' bend, which we think is rather attractive.
If your young tree begins to lean, you can sometimes correct this by tying it with a wide, soft tree tie and then rope to a stake positioned some way from the tree. This allows the tree to flex in the breeze, whilst being supported in the upright position. The timber will lignify with time and the tree then remain vertical.
Choice of species for a Specimen or Feature Tree
E. mitchelliana E. nitens
E. perriniana E. rubida
Choices for an arboretum with space for a tall tree:
E. regnans - a tree of truly Olympic proportions, great fun to grow if you have the space
Return to the Eucalyptus 'Growing Tips' page
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