Gum trees (Eucalyptus) march to a different drum. There are dozens of different species from all over Australia and we have distilled this list (there are probably 50 that would grow in Britain) into three. 1. Tall, broad, green and delicate leafed (Eucalyptus aggregata). 2. Tall, straight, narrow and silvery/blue leafed (Eucalyptus glaucescens) and 3. Smaller, multistemmed, sparse with beautiful bark and blue foliage (this one). They are famous for the speed of their growth but this is ONLY the case if they have plenty of space and no competition when they're young and getting established. This, the Donald Trump of trees, when young, has enormous trouble competing with a bit of grass. Have you ever noticed how travelling by train is a great chance to see into thousands of back gardens? I've lost count of the number of thin miserable constipated Gum trees in back gardens between Horsham and Victoria. The symptoms are instantly recognisable and are easily cured by removing all other plants within a metre of the trunk. This is true with all plants - but particularly so with Gums. The other non-conformist trait is that you can't grow it from cuttings - only seed. Normally, if we find a particularly fine example of any plant, we'd want to clone it - to produce lots more exactly the same. Occasionally this happens with Gum trees and the desire to clone it will be irresistible. We've tried and tried - even by micropropagation in the laboratory but to no avail. However, these come pretty true from seed and we always try to get seed from Australia that's been gathered on the same trees in a particular area. This helps. They're light sensitive and tend to grow away from other trees so the key is to either grow them on their own or surrounded by an equal amount of other trees in each direction. If possible. Sometimes they grow so fast that staking will not be enough - we've sometimes had to put guy wires up to support them for a few years. They'll stand up on their own eventually. All gums will grow by the sea but you've got to give them time. The salt wind will take the top out and it will eventually be low and wide and dense - just as if you'd been up on a ladder and kept giving it a haircut.
Eucalyptus debeuzevillei is a high altitude tree (hence Snow Gum) and never grows straight. We grow most (but not all) as multistemmed trees which are mighty popular - you get more of the pretty bark for your money. They rarely grow more than about 25ft but after less than 5 years should be robust enough to sling a hammock between the trunks.
Drought resistance in plants (except in Cacti) is because the plant is so vigorous, it has the ability to find water where others may not. When first planted water like mad! It may need less water than others plants but its also a vigorous and therefore a thirsty plant. And remember to water the rootball, not just the surrounding soil. In a windy coastal garden, plant small, stake well and the plant will grow a short, fat trunk with stocky growth rather than a long leggy one. Any other questions, phone us for advice.
As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate around the base of a tree can be fatal.
IF IT HAS A GREEN TRAFFIC LIGHT
Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)
This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.
Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.
General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.
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