The eucalyptus tree has a ton of natural benefits, and is regularly kept indoors as well as outdoors. Some of these benefits include being a natural insect repellent, a treatment for dry/itchy skin, and they may even reduce cold symptoms. The eucalyptus tree is also extremely easy to take care of; being a native tree from Australia these trees are no stranger to intense heat, no rain, and dry soil. If you have enough space for the massive eucalyptus, this tree can make an attractive addition with interesting bark and foliage, beautiful flowers, and nice fragrance.
Fun Facts about Eucalyptus Trees:
"Eucalyptus" is actually the name for a group of plants in the Myrtle family of trees, and there are over 600 unique "eucalyptus" plants, ranging from shrubs to very large trees. The giant gum tree (Eucalyptus regnans), is one of the largest at a height of about 300 feet and a circumference of 24.5 feet. These trees aren't just huge, they also grow very quickly, with most species averaging 90 to 100 feet tall by the age of ten. Finally, almost every variety of eucalyptus originates from Australia, where it's leaves are the staple food item for koala bears.
How to spot a Eucalyptus:
The leaves are long, thin, and leathery, and they often hang obliquely or vertically. When in bloom, they grow flowers in small groups, that (oddly enough) always include an odd number of flowers up to 11 per group. The Eucalyptus however, is more commonly known for its bark, which peels off the tree in strips or small sections, often leaving streaks of colors in the wood. Of course, the most important thing to do when trying to spot a eucalyptus, is to look up! These massive trees dwarf other "large" trees, and unless you live in the redwoods, it's probably the tallest tree in the neighborhood.
How to take care of Your Eucalyptus:
If you intend to plant a eucalyptus, place it far from any structures or pipes in your yard. You will also want to choose a sunny or mostly sunny area. They should be watered about once a week with a deep saturating slow soak (1-2 gallons) for the first couple years. If you are going to add fertilizer or soil amendments it is often recommended to use one that is low in phosphorus, as it can damage the tree. Eucalyptus trees can be messy, shedding bark, branches, and some leaves in the fall. This debris can become a dangerous fire hazard, so it is best to keep it cleaned up. Overall, these trees are very low maintenance and are happy to grow all on their own.
When to call an Arborist:
Eucalyptus should be trimmed annually to control top growth and height. It is best to do this trimming in the hotter parts of the year. Wait until the tree is at least ten feet before trimming for the first time.
When it comes to diseases, wet weather,
poor drainage, or damp conditions that prevent air circulation from reaching the center of the tree, are often the culprits.
Look for these warning signs:
Anthracnose – This group of fungal diseases affects primarily branches, twigs and leaves, and is recognized by curled, distorted growth and small black, tan or brown lesions.
Anthracnose is related to excessive moisture and often follows moist springtime weather.
Phytophthora – Often identified as root, crown, foot or collar rot. It can attack all parts of the tree and is often evidenced by wilted, yellowing foliage, stunted growth, and reddish, orange or brown cankers on the trunk and stems or under the bark. The tree may ooze a reddish or dark sap that stains the trunk.
Heart rot – Often known as sap rot, heart rot is a group of several types of fungi that causes decay in the centers of limbs and trunks. Although the disease isn’t always easy to spot, damage can travel relatively quickly. Badly affected trees should be severely trimmed or removed.