droopy Eucalyptus

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Dave--C, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Dave--C

    Dave--C New Member

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    We bought a house 3 years ago in the gulf islands with a beautiful established garden that has been a little neglected in recent years. One of the many puzzles is our droopy Eucalyptus tree. Some of the branches are horizontal near the ends, and they bend over to within about 8 feet near the ground when loaded with snow. The tree is overall about 30 feet tall. We asked our local arborist for help, and he had some suggestions, but he doesn't have much experience with Eucalyptus trees. He suggested he prune off a couple of the most horizontal limbs, near the main trunk. Which I think makes sense, but, after copious Google research I'm confused about when to prune Eucalyptus - some websites say winter, others say in the heat of the summer, and it's about evenly split.

    When is the best time to prune Eucalyptus on the BC coast?

    Do you have any other ideas for how to care for this tree?

    Thank you!
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Prune in spring. Specimen is probably rootbound, hence the flopping. (Also if there is any shading coming from one side they will do this). However it has more vertical replacement shoots coming from the base.
     
  3. Dave--C

    Dave--C New Member

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    Thanks! Can it be rootbound if it's not in a container?
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes. Woody plants have woody roots, that remain in position after being misdirected by pot walls - only new root growth coming off of the existing basic structure grows away from the center of the plant after release from the container. In other words the original, bound core of roots does not unfold after planting.
     
  5. Dave--C

    Dave--C New Member

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    Thanks!
     
  6. Puddleton

    Puddleton Active Member 10 Years

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    These types of Eucalyptus have a lignotuber at the base which extends underground. There's plenty of basal dormant buds waiting to grow after bushfire or severe cold.
    feel free to prune it very hard early in the growing season. You'll have the effect of a small multi trunked tree or large shrub
    If you plan on pruning this spring then I would reduce it by 1/4 to 1/2 during this winter. This will reduce the current load on the branches.
     
  7. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Don't prune your Eucalyptus until spring in our region. Wait until early Spring. Judging from you pics. I'd trim/cut most of what is not vertical. It may seem severe, but worth it. A leaning Eucalyptus can be a real issue if left unattended. I know first hand. I've had several come down over the years. One was a 60' E. urnigrea.
    Cheers.
     
  8. Dave--C

    Dave--C New Member

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    Thanks Puddleton and LPN.

    We plan to have the arborist prune the most horizontal limbs in the spring. Here's how it looks today.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2020
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd go further and suggest an outright coppice - cut to ground level. The new regrowth in the summer will grow 2-3 metres per year for a couple of years, and will be straight and strong, unlike the current weak growth. Then after a year or two, satrt thinning down to the single best-shaped new trunk, unless you want to keep it multistemmed.
     
  10. Dave--C

    Dave--C New Member

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    Well we had it pruned at the end of April, and here's how it looks now. Not a big change, but the three most horizontal major limbs were pruned off. We'll see!
     

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