Hardy Eucalyptus Tree dying?

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Charmnimmo, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. Charmnimmo

    Charmnimmo Member

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    Hi, I have a huge tree that I was told was a "hardy Eucalyptus" It has always dropped its leaves (though not all of them) on an opposite schedule to our local trees. This year though, it's leaves turned brown and have stayed that way. By now there should have been new growth all over the tree. The odd thing is, that near the thickest part of the trunk, it is lush with new leaves, but they are quite different from the other leaves normally on the tree. The regular leaves are more elongated and oval, while these leaves are what I've seen on California Eucalyptus, quite round. They also have the eucalyptus smell where the other ones didn't. The tree is very tall and most of the upper branches look totally dead. I have seen a couple of others around town looking pretty bad too, but didn't notice the new growth that I have. Does anyone know if there is a disease or something affecting eucalyptus? Someone told me that the tree may have been grafted and that's why I'm getting different growth now. I can send pictures if anyone thinks they can help. Thank you
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    See this Botany Photo of the Day on Eucalyptus coccifera. The one in the garden here at UBC experiencing the same phenomenon is quite a sight!
     
  3. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Mine has taken on a suspicious brown look this year, but I attribute that to having root pruned it this spring, which it obviously didn't appreciate. It sprouted new growth in spring at the branch tips as normal, but then everything turned brown. It sprouted new growth at the base after that, perhaps in July (? there is a thread on the forums about it somewhere - "straightening a leaning tree" I think). But the new growth subsequently also croaked. I'm going to leave it for a year to see what it does next.

    As for losing its leaves off schedule relative to other local trees, it may be deciduous trees you are comparing it to. Other evergreens also lose leaves or needles through spring or summer - can't recall which; once new growth is in place anyway.
     
  4. Charmnimmo

    Charmnimmo Member

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    Wow, answers so fast....thank you.
    That's reassuring that it's not dying. I'm a bit worried that the upper most branches may be a problem if we get the high winds that we had last winter. If they are not producing leaves, will they be brittle and snap with wind or cold? It is very tall, and I was wondering if it needs to be topped by a professional. I think they would need a crane to do this and it would probably be quite expensive. The picture you sent is like mine, but it's getting the normal leaves where as I am getting the other type. I've added some photos, of the new growth, which is vigorous, and a comparison of the old leaves (brown) with the new. Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.
     

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  5. MdeHaan

    MdeHaan Member

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    Juvenile foliage normally is different from mature foliage. I 'coppice' my tree every year and get a lovely crop of juvenile foliage to use in flower arrangemets. The tree now looks more like a multi-stemmed shrub than a tree.
    Marie
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, those dead upper branches could become a hazard later as they start to decay and lose their wood strength. If any of them are directly above a footpath or anywhere else someone might walk, I'd definitely recommend having them pruned off, just above the highest live foliage. No immediate urgency though, it'll be a year or two at least till they get brittle.

    If the tree is in a position where people don't normally go under it, you could just leave them to drop naturally (and if anyone does need to go under it, avoid windy days!).
     
  7. Charmnimmo

    Charmnimmo Member

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    Thanks again for your help to all who replied to me. Very helpful!
     
  8. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This new growth is just like after a bushfire. They really are amazing the way they can regenerate. Everywhere is black and lifeless then after a few weeks all the burnt branches start to sprout new growth. Yes it is often a different shape and there is a whole foliage industry for young grey round eucalypt leaves. Some varieties are specialy grown for this purpose.
    I would not leave the dead branches too long (months at the most)if it is a large tree. We don't call the gum tree "widow maker" for nothing. I do wonder what has caused the die back tho. Could it be the cinnamon fungus? I would not have thought lack of water given their origins.

    http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nreni...0293999-E299BA98B195BCEDCA256BCF00088833?open

    Liz
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Frost - they had some colder-than-average weather in the PNW last winter.
     
  10. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks Michael,

    I was reading through the thread and realized no one had addressed the cause (well, Daniel did, but people may not have followed the link to the BPotD write-up.) Last winter was severe in this area. Hardy is a relative term with plants. They still have limits and the limit for cold was met for some eucalyptus and other plants in this area last winter or in the case of the trees mentioned here, nearly met.

    A visitor to the garden, who has lived much of his life in Australia, said he had seen similar die-back on trees there and that it would probably take 4-5 years for the eucalyptus trees that survived here at the Garden to regrow to a full form.
     
  11. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    "Frost - they had some colder-than-average weather in the PNW last winter."

    Not just cold but earlier than normal as well. All of the dozen or more species of Eucs I grow seemed fine. Not quite as cold on the Island I guess. One 14' E. archeri laid over in a NW gust. I cut that one down and it's regrowing nicely now with a better root structure.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  12. patricia256

    patricia256 Member

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    Hi All
    I am a new user but am very interested in this topic. I also have a very large eucalyptus tree in my garden in sw scotland. normally at this time of year some of the leaves turn red, others remain green and some drop. This year half the tree has brown, dead looking leaves, there are 4 or 5 main limbs, 2 of them are normal and the other 2 are brown. I dont understand what is happening as last winter was very mild although this summer was rather wet. Any advice wopuld be appreciated as the tree is a wonderful focal point, very symetrical and elegant.
    thanks
    Patricia
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Circumstances would point towards the wet summer.
     
  14. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Some gums tolerate a lot of water do you know the variety???? If it is Scotland it probably comes from the cooler temperate areas of Oz and rain should not be a huge problem. A lot of the ones around here are actualy dying because of the long dry. They are missing their rain. However if it is used to the desert type environment it may explain why it is loosing limbs.

    Liz
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, the subalpine gums such as are likely to be seen in Scotland actually like it moist. However, if the water table got high during the excessive damp or the soil was on the heavy side the reduced oxygen could cause problems. Not enough information here to do all that much more than take shots in the dark, health problems with garden plants can sometimes be rather inscrutable. Laboratory procedures may be needed in some instances to get to the core of it.
     
  16. patricia256

    patricia256 Member

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    Thanks for all your replies, I will try to add a few pictures which might help identify the tree.
    cheers
    Patricia
     

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  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    From the habit this does look to be a subalpine type even though you are probably actually in a mild belt where some other types could be just as likely, I suppose. (Or it may be low-forking and broad due to site conditions or something else it has been subjected to). Since it is fairly large and there is other growth close in around it perhaps the soil environment had become unsuitably humusy and moist during the life of the tree, even when it was not subjected to an unusually high precipitation episode. You will probably have to get help from a consulting arborist, garden consultant or whatever appropriate services may be offered by the Agriculture Ministry to uncover what has occurred.
     
  18. Charmnimmo

    Charmnimmo Member

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    Well, it's been almost 3 years since I first was worried about my tree and posted my question, and about a year ago, I decided it was definitely dead. It's had no leaves or any new growth for 2 years now, and I am facing cutting it down. Was just wondering if anyone knows if I'm being too hasty....is there a chance that it will come back to life if I give it long enough to recover, and if not, does anyone know if Eucalyptus wood has any value to wood turners, carvers etc? It's a huge tree and I'd love to see it's wood at least, go on to another life. Thanks if you have any information.
    Charmian
     

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