Eucalyptus - hard pruning ?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by Charles Richard, May 11, 2009.

  1. Charles Richard

    Charles Richard Active Member 10 Years

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    We have a eucalyptus tree (not sure of name) that was hit very hard with this past winter. We thought it might be lost, but I can see new growth coming at the further most branches. The leaves when it was a juvenille were silver/grey and dollar shaped,
    but as the tree grew the leaves changed to lance shaped and the same color.
    It is about 14ft in height, but tends to want to lean. I have been tempted to prune it down quite a bit in the past, but never have.
    Can you cut these down quite a bit and have new growth come off the older wood or does it usually come from the ground level.
    The leaves on the tree right now are half brown from the winter kill. Unsure as to whether new leaves will come on the same branches?
    Any help would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Cut to below the dead.
     
  3. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I would not cut anything until the tree shows completely its life signs from the new growth...
    new growth cut back may harm it....staking for upright support should be gradual so as to not damage the trees natural form.
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    For what it's worth a good hair cut really gets them growing. You should see the regrowth of eucalypts when they do power line pruning. If it had round leaves it will again start with them and then develope it's adult leaves. If it were mine I would follow Ron and cut just above the new growth with a neat cut if you want to keep the branches otherwise bring the cuts further back to get a compact growth. All the fire damaged forests are re sprouting here and they have not had a hair cut.

    Liz
     
  5. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    I lopped about 30 feet or morre of my Eucalyptus because it was growing away at an angle over the neighbours garden around 2 and a half years ago. i took it down to about a 10 foot stump with not a branch on it and it is back up at around 30 feet in such a short time. This time its growing straight and its very bushy so don't worry about over pruning they are very reslient. The wood is very soft though so susceptible to strong winds. The leaves should be a silvery green turning to red in the fall.

    Fantastic trees and I love them

    Nath
     
  6. Charles Richard

    Charles Richard Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you all so much for your advice. I am going to prune it quite a bit as the height and structure of the tree is not what I would like. Should have been pruning it at a younger age.
    Probably give it until the end on May or is earlier better so the tree is not in full growth when I do prune it.
     
  7. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Can't help with the timing as I don't know yr weather but it probably would be better early in the growing season to give new growth time to harden for winter. Here they are lopped and trimed when ever but we don't have the cold winters.

    Liz
     
  8. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    I did mine in the Fall and then it lay dormant for the best part of 8 months and its seemed to just spring into life all of a sudden. My wife and I are constantly amazed at the size and thickness of the new trunks and how quickly it has grown. It easily seems to add nearly 10 feet a year.

    The new branches seem a lot stronger and don't split in the wind like the old ones used to.

    Nath
     
  9. Lurmac

    Lurmac Member

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    Charles,
    Did you ever end up cutting back your eucalyptus tree? If so, when did you do it and did it survive okay? Our tree had ++ damage this past winter and it is a big tree that is too close to the house. I've read on the net that cutting it back will compromise its structural strength, but I"m planning on keeping it well-pruned so it doesn't grow above the house. I was planning on having it cut back this summer but I'm not clear on when is a good time.

    Luri
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Yes they do become weak with lots of pruning. I am not sure if this is so for all species but we don't call some gums widow makers for nothing. We get pruning for electric lines done about twice a year and they have really mangled one huge gum so much so the wind is slowly demolishing this giant that is part of the original forest in the area. Settlement since about 1867.

    Liz
     
  11. Charles Richard

    Charles Richard Active Member 10 Years

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    Dear Lurmac,
    Yes, infact we did cut our Eucalyptus back to about 5 ft. It is producing many new
    laterals from the base and some out of the old branch axels. Were may end up cutting it down more if it keeps growing the way it is. We would prefer it to be shorter than it was.
    I have since talked to friends that live on the water in Nanaimo and they have a very large tree that they cut down because it was too large and it looks great.
    The advice that I received through this website made it alot easier to decide what to do.
    It sounds like with a very tall tree that topping is much like topping a Douglas fir tree around here. Not a good idea. I would think that if it were cut down to a manageable size, so that one could maintain it easily, it would be safer.
     
  12. Lurmac

    Lurmac Member

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    Charles (and other contributors),
    Thanks for the info. It sounds like your cutting was a success, so it must be okay to do it this time of year (I've heard to wait until the Fall). Our tree is huge and I agree with cutting it back to a size where one can easily maintain and prune. Ours will require tree climbers or a bucket truck in order to prune it (too much for our capabilities!). One contributor reported cutting right back to the main trunk, a sizeable tree (in the UK, a similar climate). I think this is what I will do. I wonder if there is any kind of fertilizer to apply after the big cut. Does anyone know? Maybe it doesn't need it.

    Appreciating all the input!

    Luri
     
  13. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I would not fertilise. Your soil is probably much more fertile than it's native home. Australia's soils are low in nutrients and as a result plants have adapted. Here they provide a special fertilizer for planting native out . Normal fertilizers are too rich

    Liz
     
  14. Lurmac

    Lurmac Member

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    Huh, okay, good point. By the sounds of it this tree is very hardy!
     

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