Posted by Brent Wilson on 8/29/2016 to Pruning Tips
Eucalyptus trees do not require pruning however respond well to it for shaping and to control size.
When to Prune Eucalyptus
In cool climates with hot and humid summers, pollarding of Eucalyptus might best be carried out in late winter to early spring, just before plants resume active growth in spring. In cooler climates with hot but dry summers, pruning can be carried out through mid-summer, though some bleeding of sap may occur, healing is usually quicker in hot weather. Keep in mind that pruning after late summer means that the wound will not have sufficient time to heal prior to cold winter weather, which can result in bark peeling away from the trunk and might kill the whole tree. Where frost is not an issue, trees can be pruned year round. 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. archeri, E. parviflora, E. 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.
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.
Please Note: Before using this form of pruning make sure to know the Eucalyptus species you intend on pruning. Search the species on Google to find whether or not it responds well to pollarding pruning. For example, in the scientific name of Eucalyptus neglecta, 'Eucalyptus' is the genus and 'neglecta' is the species, which always follows directly after the genus. So type this phrase in Google: "Eucalyptus neglecta pollarding pruning," or something similar.
This method of pruning, pollarding, is best initiated early in the life of the tree, rather than used on over large or damaged mature trees, which may or may not regenerate in response. Pollarding simply involves cutting Eucalyptus tree trunks about 6 to 10 feet above the ground, leaving the side branches. As some species might not respond well to it, as mentioned above, do a little research on the specific species of your Eucalytptus before using the pollarding method of pruning.
When pollarding a eucalyptus, cut back the main trunk to about 6 to 10 feet above the ground, leaving the side branches on the remaining trunk. That's all there is too it!