Eucalyptus

Common name: Gum tree

Eucalypts are fast growers, and many species will reach a height of 5metres (16 ft) in just three years if left un-pruned.

The less hardy and tender species are suitable for focal points in summer bedding schemes or for foliage pot plants.

Cultivation

Week 8: Sow seeds and germinate at a temperature of 14°-16°C (55°-60°F)

Germinations rates can be erratic so sow sufficient seeds to cater for this.

Eucalyptus do not like root disturbance so care should be taken when pricking out to minmise this.

Growing as a Plug Plant (in cells) with help to alleviate this problem.

Alternatively, prick out at the two leaf stage or later, when the plant will handle the shock better.

Progressively pot on until they are in 200-250mm (8”-10”) pots.

Week 18: Fetch plants (sown previous year) out of greenhouse and harden off the plants before setting them out.

If you want your seedlings to grow into a tree, train the central leader vertically this will eventually form the trunk.

As the tree grows remove the lower limbs radiating from the leader/trunk just as they start to die back.

Established trees need little attention, except to remove dead or damaged branches.

Coppicing and / or pollarding established trees now will help to keep these tree/s small and manageable.

It will also encourage the more attractive juvenile foliage.

Week 22: Stand pots of new seedlings outdoors in full sun, until the first frosts are likely, then move to a cool greenhouse with a minimum winter temperature of 4°C (40°F).

Week 28: Plant out 50mm (2”) deep in well-drained soil of moderate fertility and in a location where they will get full sunshine.

Choose a site sheltered from freezing winds and gales.

Ensure that the swollen root (ligno tuber) is well covered.

They will all grow in acid and neutral soils, but avoid very dry sites, unless copious watering by hose is possible, similarly avoid sites liable to water logging.

In poor soils, add moist peat and some slow-acting fertilizer such as bonemeal.

Take care when planting out,they are sensitive to root damage and restriction.

Keep plants moist in summer until the plants are it established, do not let the young plants wilt.

Young plants should be securely staked for the first five or six years to prevent wind rocking.

Stake them very low down, this allows the tree to bend without disturbing the roots.

Week 40: Protection of the basal stem is recommended during the first winter in cold areas, particularly for the less hardy species.

Place straw, sacking, or cloches around the plant or erect a wind break of hessian or clear polythene.

Do not give overhead cover.

If a plant appears to be dead after the winter, do not dig it up immediately, the lignotuber and roots may still be alive, and new shoots may appear from the base during May.





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