hardy eucalyptis

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by pmeugens, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. pmeugens

    pmeugens Member

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    west vancouver

    I am in the process of designing my small back yard and am looking for fast growing, hardy evergreen trees. I live on the northshore, fairly high up so it does get cold. Is there an evergreen eucalyptis that would survive our winter?
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Try Eucalyptus archeri
  3. AM Downie

    AM Downie Member

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    North Vancouver, BC Canada
    How high up on the North Shore do you live?

    There are several eucalyptus species you might try. Generally speaking, the hardiest species are the cider gum (E. gunnii) and the snow gum (E. pauciflora). The latter has two varieties that are quite hardy hardy in: ssp. niphophila, and ssp. debeuzevillei.
    These, and E. gunni, have done well in my north shore garden (about 400 ft above sea level), and came through some cold winters, notably -14 C in 1993 as young plants.

    The key with eucalyptus is to plant them very small. One gallon sized containers or smaller is ideal. They are very sensitive to root disturbance and cannot be transplanted. If you plant from larger containers the trees will not become wind firm, making them susceptible to wind throw. The young trees should be self supporting - so avoid staking. If a young tree seems to be keeling over then cut it back fairly hard to help maintain a better root-shoot balance. The best time to plant is in the spring, to give the young tree a full growing season to become established.

    Key to the survival of eucalypts in our climate is seed provenance. Trees grown from seeds collected at the highest elevations in their native range, or from cultivated trees of known hardiness have the best chances of survival. Although we've enjoyed a string of mild winters it is only a matter of time before we get another severe one.

    Perhaps more damaging to eucalyptus than absolute cold temperatures is a sudden drop when the trees have not fully hardened off. This happened in the mid-90's when temperatures dropped to -11 C in early November, killing a lot of half-hardy plants that would have easily survived colder temperatures later in the winter. Eucalyptus have extraordinary powers of recovery, and often the trees will produce root sprouts the following summer. So don't be too quick to remove an apparently dead eucalypt.

    A heavy mulch (6 - 12") will help keep the tree's root system from freezing. This is beneficial as the root system is much less hardy than the above ground parts. Eucalyptus, like most plants, become hardier as they mature, so getting the trees past the first few winters increases their chances of long-term survival.

    Eucalyptus do not need fertilization. They grow fast anyway. Boosting them with nitrogen will only produce sappy growth that will make the tree less wind-firm, and more suceptible to frost damage in winter.

    Hope this helps,

  4. I also grow E. archeri and so far so good, as well as about 14 other species. There is also a very large E. coccifera, grown since 1992, which has been tested to -12c a couple of winters. It flowers reliably and even puts a few seedlings in the garden each year! This particular plant is our very best in terms of winter hardiness. This garden is on Point Grey, 100m above sea level. Depending how high up the north shore you are, it would in all likelihood be excellent for your location.

    Any of the tree line species from SE Australia and higher elevations of Tasmania will be good here - of course, until the next BIG freeze - Vancouver has endured -18c as its coldest reading and nearly all Eucalypts would succumb to that.


    This is a great source of wild collected seed with the hardiest provenances I know of.

    All the best,


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