The Eucalyptus tree is a diverse type of flowering tree in the myrtle family commonly found in Australia. There are more than 700 species of Eucalyptus, mostly native to Australia, and a very small number are found in New Guinea and Indonesia and one, Eucalyptus Deglupta, ranges north to the Philippines. Only 15 species occur outside Australia, and only 9 do not occur in Australia. Species of Eucalyptus are cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics including the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, China and the Indian Subcontinent.
Seasonal information: Eucalyptus trees do not “harden off” or “go dormant” in the way we usually think of trees preparing for the winter. This is quite different from the regimen of most other trees, which do most or all of their growing in the spring and early summer, and then stop. Eucalyptus trees flower in most years from late spring to mid-summer.
Location: Eucalyptus trees have it much easier in cultivation than they do in their natural habitat in Australia. They prefer warm sunny climates.
Planting instructions: Planting in fall or at the start of the rainy season is best. For cold winter areas, plant in the early spring so it has a chance to extend roots before winter sets in. Water the tree well before planting and choose a sunny area. Then, dig a hole larger than the pot you purchased it in and one to two inches deeper. Take the tree out of the pot and separate the roots without breaking very many. Water the tree and fill in the dirt as you water. Cover the new soil with mulch to hold in the water and keep weeds away.
Watering: Watering is a key step in removing any pests which may also share the plants desire to stay warm and dry. Try not to over water, these plants come from a dry desert and prefer to live as such, but do well in our warm temperature. Eucalyptus trees, which normally do well without irrigation, might appreciate occasional deep irrigation through summer.
Weed Control: When it comes to weeds, the Eucalyptus tree is more of a threat to others than others are to it. The Audubon Society has called the towering eucalyptus tree “America’s largest weed.” Sturdy and fragrant, the eucalyptus is an exotic invasive, a non-native species that was transported to America more than 150 years ago. Mulching will help prevent other weeds from growing nearby.
Pests and Disease: The main pests are the eucalyptus longhorn borer, eucalyptus gall wasp, various leaf eating beetles. Because there is no practical treatment for most of these new pathogens, prevention of infestation is important. Stressed trees are most susceptible. It is therefore important to keep trees healthy.
Pruning: While many people assume fall to early spring is an appropriate time for Eucalyptus trimming, this isn’t the case at all. In fact, pruning too near the onset of cold weather or post freezing temperatures can trigger die back and encourage disease. The best time for pruning Eucalyptus is during the heat of summer. Although some bleeding of sap may occur, these trees actually heal quicker in hot weather. For large wounds, however, applying a wound dressing may be necessary after cutting to prevent infection.
Pollination: Pollination is mainly by insects but also by birds and small mammals.