Eucalyptus Tree Information
A mature Eucalyptus can grow as a low shrub or a very tall tree. Primarily, this tree has been divided into three main classifications.
Forest trees, are single stemmed all the way up to the crown, which is minor in proportion to the tree's height. Woodland trees, are also single stemmed, but they branch out a few feet above ground level, and Mallees species, are mostly less than 10 meters in height, and multi-stemmed right from ground level, hence considered a shrub.
Eucalyptus is one of the many types of evergreen trees. It is an aromatic tree that varies in height; 10 meters to over 60 meters, depending upon the cultivator. The tallest measured specimen, the Australian Mountain Ash is 99.6 meters tall.
Bark of the eucalyptus consists of long fibers that can be pulled off easily in large pieces. Some species exude medicinal sap. Except for a few odd types that lose their leaves at the end of the dry season, most eucalyptus are evergreen.
The foliage is long, oval-shaped, with colors that range from bright to olive green. The leaves are refreshingly aromatic just like its attractive, peeling bark. The tree bears flowers from late spring to early summer in colors of cream, yellow, white, pink or red. The flowers are attractive fluffy stamens enclosed in a cap known as an operculum.
Caring for Eucalyptus Trees
As most of the trees are so tall, one is often left wondering how to care for eucalyptus trees. But the best part about growing this tree is that they are non-fussy growers, and require care only in they early years, for once they are well established, all that you would do is take in the aroma they will spread in and around your yard!
To grow a eucalyptus successfully, take into consideration the size of your tree, for once you plant them in one location, transplanting will kill them, just as less space would. They have a shallow root system, so one should ideally plant them in an area protected from high winds.
To plant a eucalyptus, dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball size. Place the plant in the center and backfill with soil. Dig out around the tree to secure water in it and pour water gently. Once the water gets absorbed, mulch around the tree with any type of mulch. Fertilize first time after a month of planting it and then once every 3 years.
Pruning eucalyptus is essential to control leaf litter, though, this becomes difficult when the tree grows very tall. Prune eucalyptus only in the summers, because they bleed sap when cut, which then makes them very susceptible to fungus infections in winters and humid climates, so always apply a wound dressing after cutting to prevent infection.
Eucalyptus Tree Diseases
Although very hardy, and insecticidal in nature, the eucalyptus is highly susceptible to longhorn borer, eucalyptus gall wasp, various leaf eating beetles and the lerp psyllid.
Most pests can be easily controlled by regular pruning and application of insecticides. It is important to note that the lerp psyllid is actually capable of killing the tree. Lerp psyllids are plant-juice sucking homopterans, that infect the eucalyptus leaves.
Infected leaves have small white, hemispherical cap composed of solidified honeydew and wax stuck on them. The wax results in dark sooty mold fungus growth, that spreads to the bark as well.
Specific insecticides are available to deal with this problem, and must be used at the earliest. A simple way to curb any infection from spreading is to stop the use of fertilizer till the tree is free of infection. This tree is full of a natural valuable medicinal oil, yet not many growers are fond of it due to the further reasons.
- Its roots are shallow, which make the tall tree vulnerable to falling during high winds.
- The oil is flammable and can aggravate a wildfire.
- The tree secretes allelopathic chemicals via its roots, fallen bark, leaves and flowers, affecting the surrounding soil.
- Roots of this tree inhibit root growth of other plants by damaging their nutrient source.
A gardener can easily work around these problems of the eucalyptus trees. With proper care and nurturing, this tree will beautify your garden, and spread its unique and refreshing fragrance to the surroundings.