Eucalyptus trees, especially our Southern Euc Cold Hardy Eucalyptus Trees, are very easy to grow when planted right and in the right spot.


Here's a breakdown of what you need to know...



Cultural Preferences


Tip:  Before planting a Eucalyptus tree in your yard, always check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for the variety of Eucalyptus you are planting to ensure that it is cold hardy in your area. On every Eucalyptus page in Wilson Bros Gardens you'll find the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones listed.


Soil Preferences 

Eucalyptus trees adapt to most soil types provided there is good drainage. In soil with low fertility or compact clay it'll be worth your time to mix in some bagged top soil to the backfill mixture. Constantly wet soil can be a killer for some varieties that prefer a more dry soil. Other varieties will tolerate a boggy soil. So make sure to check soil preferences for the variety of Eucalyptus you intend to plant. You'll find soil moisture preferences under the Description tab on every Eucalyptus page in the Wilson Bros Gardens website.


Testing Soil Drainage 

If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant your Eucalyptus tree, it's well worth taking the time to test the drainage before planting. 

To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep where you intend to plant your tree. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions and a need to add some moisture retentive organic matter. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you might need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for trees that are more tolerant of wet or boggy conditions.


Soil pH Prefefrences

Eucalytpus trees thrive in a moderately to slightly acid soil ranging from around 5.5 to 6.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.


Testing Soil pH  

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, and whether or not it's suitable for growing Eucalytpus, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. 

You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil Sulfur, Aluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.




Sunlight Preferences

For best growth rates and fuller trees, most varieties of Eucalytpus trees prefer full to mostly sun. That said, some varieties will do okay with some shade. You'll find sun preferences under the Description Tab on every Eucalyptus page in the Wilson Bros Gardens website.




How To Plant A Eucalyptus Tree

Scroll down for Eucalytpus container planting instructions and care tips


Step 1

Start by digging your planting hole at least two to three times as wide and a little deeper than the height of the root ball of your tree. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.


Step 2

Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area, it may be beneficial to amend the native soil. When planting in heavy clay or other compacted soils, it's a good idea to mix in some bagged top soil at a 50/50 ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in a sandy, quick-draining soil amending with top soil or peat moss will help to retain moisture and supply vital plant nutrients. 


Step 3

To remove your Eucalyptus tree from the container it was growing in first squeeze or tap on the sides of the container to loosen the root ball. Then firmly grasp the base of the trunk and very gently try to lift and remove the tree from its container. If the root ball is stuck cut the container away. 

CAUTION:  After having removed the plant from the container it is not necessary to loosen or spread out roots, which could damage the sensitive root system.


Step 4

Set your Eucalyptus tree in the planting hole so that the top edge of the root ball is at or slightly above ground level. If necessary, place additional soil in the bottom of the planting hole to achieve proper planting height.

Step 5

Start pulling your backfill soil mixture into the hole around the rootball tamping lightly as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. Avoid placing soil on top of the root ball as doing so can suffocate your tree.


Step 6 (Optional)

If you are planting your Eucalyptus tree in a location that is far from a water source and in well-drained soil, you can use remaining soil mixture to build a 3-inch high water retaining berm (catch basin / doughnut) around the outside perimeter of the planting hole. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall and irrigation often reducing the need hand-watering. The berm can be removed after a year or so or when your Eucalyptus tree has established itself.


Step 7 

Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball.


Step 8

Apply a 1-2" layer of aged, shredded wood mulch or bark, or a 3-4" layer of pine straw, around your newly planted Eucalyptus tree. Avoid the use of freshly chipped or shredded wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of the tree as this could cause problems with the bark.




How To Plant A Eucalyptus Tree In A Container


Eucalyptus trees growing in pots appreciate a consistently moist but well-drained soil during the warmer seasons. Therefore, choose a container with a drainage hole(s) at the bottom and use a quality bagged potting soil.


Container Size Matters!

Eucalyptus trees grow very rapidly. When planted in a container they can become root bound rather quickly. Therefore, it's best to choose a much larger pot to increase the time your tree can spend in the container. For example, if your Eucalyptus was growing in a 3 gallon nursery pot (10" rim diameter) you might want to transplant it to a container at least 18 inches or more in rim diameter. If in a 1-gallon size pot (6-6.5" diameter) transplant into a pot 14 inches in diameter, or larger.



Shape Can Be Important

Next thing to consider would be the shape of your container. Does the shape of the container allow the Eucalyptus tree to be easily removed from the pot without damaging the root system or the pot? Avoid vase-like pots with narrow tops. The top of the pot should be as wide or wider than the bottom of the pot.



Wind Is A Concern

Is the bottom of the pot wide enough to support the Eucalyptus tree in wind? You don't want a pot with a very narrow base as it will be prone to tipping in the wind, especially with tall-growing Eucalyptus species. You can place gravel, rocks or other stone materials in the bottom of any container to increase stability. However, keep in mind that this will make the container heavier for transporting. If you do add stone or other materials to the bottom of the container, lay landscape fabric over it. 



Pot Weight

Do I need a lightweight container that can be easily moved? Clay, ceramic, and concrete pottery are typically much heavier than plastic or synthetic materials, and they are prone to breakage. That said, if there will be exposure to wind, heavy concrete might be the best way to go. Double walled plastic or synthetic containers provide better insulation from freezing and hot conditions. Galvanized tubs or wooden planters work nicely and can be painted or stained. Bricks or stones can be added to lighter pots to increase stability. Just make sure whatever pot you use has a drainage hole(s) at the bottom.



Container Planting Instructions


Step 1

Before filling your container with the soil mix, I suggest lining the bottom with shade cloth or a porous landscape fabric. This will keep the drain holes from becoming stopped up with soil. If you place gravel or other materials in the bottom of the container lay the fabric over it.


Step 2

To remove your Eucalyptus tree from the container it was growing in first tap on and or squeeze the the sides of the container to loosen the root ball. Then firmly grasp the base of the trunk and very gently try to lift and remove the tree from its container. If the root ball is stuck cut the container away. 

CAUTION:  After having removed the plant from the container it is not necessary to loosen or spread out roots, which could damage the sensitive root system.


Step 3

Pour a small amount of your soil mixture in the bottom of the container. Set your Eucalyptus tree in the container and make necessary adjustments by adding or removing some soil so that the top edge of the root ball will sit 1/2 to 1" below the rim of the container. 


Step 4 

Backfill with your soil mixture around your boot ball, tamping as you go, until the level of the potting soil is even with the top of the root ball. 


Step 5

Water thoroughly until water starts to drain from the holes in the bottom of the container. Add more potting mix if settling occurs during watering.


Step 6 (Optional)

Apply a 1/2" layer of wood chips or stone mulch to soil surface for decorative purposes and to help conserve moisture.




Caring For Eucalyptus Trees

Fertilizing - Watering - Fertilizing



How To Fertilize A Eucalyptus Tree


In Ground

You'll be happy to know that Eucalyptus trees growing in the ground require no feeding. Reason being, in their native environment of Australia and Tasmania, Eucalyptus trees grow in very well-drained gravelly soil that is often very shallow over bedrock. These conditions forced Eucalyptus to adapt to growing in soils where thee are little to no nutrients.


In Pots

Eucalytpus growing in pots might appreciate an occasional light feeding (half the suggest rate on the product label) with a slow-release granular fertilizer or a water soluble plant fertilizer 



How To Water A Eucalytpus Tree

How much water a Eucalyptus tree will require will depend on several different factors: the species or variety, local climate conditions, soil type and drainage, and rainfall amounts.

Average rainfall ranges in most areas of the world range from just a few inches per year, upwards of 100 inches or more. Think desert climate verses tropical rainforest. If the Eucalyptus species originated in a desert environment it will have adapted to low water needs. On the other hand, tropical rain forest plants like a humid environment with moist soil. 

Eucalyptus can be found growing in the wild between the high and low rainfall amounts. Some species thrive with as little as 6 inches total rainfall per year while others appreciate 20 inches or more of rainfall per year. So it's a good thing to know the needs of the Eucalyptus species you're growing.

If you intend to grow a rainforest type Eucalyptus in a desert climate supplemental watering will be required to sustain health of the plant. If you intend to grow a desert Eucalyptus species in a tropical rainforest well, this would be impossible. It's much easier to provide additional water but you can't take the moisture out of the air and soil in a rain forest.

So, when selecting a Eucalyptus species to grow in your landscape, make sure it's one that will like your climate and average rainfall amounts. Simply put, do your research. With so many species and varieties available, it's impossible to list them all here along with their water requirements. That said, on every Eucalyptus page in Wilson Bros Gardens you will find soil moisture needs. 



How To Prune A Eucalytpus Tree

Eucalyptus trees do not require pruning however respond well to it for shaping and to control size.


When to Prune Eucalyptus

Most other trees like to be pruned while they are dormant, during winter or very early spring. This isn't the case with Eucalyptus, which prefer being pruned during the warm season. That being said, keep in mind that pruning too near the onset of cold weather, or post freezing temperatures, can encourage disease and trigger die-back on Eucalyptus. The best time for pruning Eucalyptus is during the heat of summer. Though some bleeding of sap may occur, Eucalyptus actually heal quicker in hot weather. If you need to remove a large branch, the application of a wound dressing might be necessary to prevent infection.



How To Prune Eucalyptus

Depending on the species of Eucalyptus and how you will use them in your landscape, there are several methods for pruning.


Pruning Euaclyptus For Hedges

Hedge pruning is a suitable method for species like E. archeriE. parvifloraE. coccifera, and E. suberenulata. In order to shape these trees into hedges, prune them at the end of their second season, removing about a third of the height and cutting in a pyramid shape. Continue to remove about one-quarter of the tree the following year and thereafter in the same manner.


Tree Forming A Eucalyptus

Though many of the faster growing eucalyptus species shed their lower limbs as they grow, you might need to remove some lower branches if a tree form is desired. Wait until the tree is at least 2 years old and at least 10 feet or more in height before removing lower limbs.


Coppicing 

A plant that is cut back close to ground level and then shoots up new vigorous stems has been subject to a type of pruning called coppicing. Most species of eucalyptus respond well to this method of pruning. So, if you think you don't have room for Eucalyptus as a tree, or you like the juvenile foliage of a specific species better than the adult foliage, you can coppice it to control size or just to get wonderful new stems and young foliage. 

To coppice a eucalyptus tree, slightly angle the cuts, pruning the trunk(s) back about a foot to 18 inches above the ground and removing all side shoots. For unsightly or leggy growth, cut back to about 6 inches from the ground. then, when new growth emerges, select the best looking shoot and allow this to develop, cutting all others at the ground.


Pollarding

This pruning method is recommended for trees that are at least three to six years old. It involves cutting uucalyptus tree trunks about 6 to 10 feet above the ground, leaving the side branches. As some species might not respond well to it, do a little research on the specific species of your eucalytptus before using the pollarding method of pruning.




Plant Long & Prosper!

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