Eucalyptus Hazards: Tips On Growing Eucalyptus In Wind Prone Areas

Eucalyptus trees are known for their large stature. Unfortunately, this can make them hazards in the home landscape, especially in wind-prone areas. Keep reading for more information and tips on preventing eucalyptus tree wind damage.

Eucalyptus Trees and Wind

Did you know that there are over 700 species of eucalyptus? Most of them hail from Australia. Eucalyptus trees, in their native habitat, are used to non-nutritious soils. They also have to withstand a lot of leaf-munching predators like koala bears. These conditions help keep their size in check. Eucs, as they are sometimes called, have to grow quickly – in order to beat the competition.

Eucalyptus trees have far fewer predators and are often installed in much richer soils when they are grown in North American and European parks and gardens. In these conditions, they don’t have to dig deep to find nutrients. These evergreen transplants grow shallow roots and are generally unchecked by pests or competition.

Growing eucalyptus in wind prone areas can be dangerous. Eucalyptus hazards include branch breakage, limb drop and complete tree failure at the base of the root plate – which is called wind throw. Most eucalyptus trees and windy conditions don’t go well together.

Preventing/Treating Eucalyptus Tree Wind Damage

The best way to prevent eucalyptus tree wind damage is to choose wind tolerant eucalyptus species which are shorter and have smaller, lower canopies that are less susceptible to breezes. A few of these wind tolerant eucalyptus trees include:

  • E. apiculate
  • E. approximans
  • E. coccifera

While your eucalyptus tree is becoming established, prevent all soil and moisture competition by removing weeds. This way it can develop a stronger root system.

It is important to regularly prune your eucalyptus in wind prone areas. Prune in fall before there is risk of frost. Create a good structure. Remove top heavy branches. Some people like to coppice their eucalyptus by cutting them to about 18” (46 cm.) tall every year. This is best for multi-trunk trees that you want to keep in shrub form. Keep the tree thinned out of excess foliage as it matures. This will allow more wind to pass through the canopy without causing damage.

Younger trees can be staked low on the trunk. Do not keep or add a stake that is right next to the trunk. This is a recipe for a lazy, weak tree. Trees need to move with the wind. When you stake a eucalyptus, use sturdy stakes that are installed at least 1-3’ (.3 – .6 m.) from the trunk at right angles to the wind. Secure them with rubber ties or cloth that won’t damage the bark.

Check your trees regularly for wind damage. If branches break or crack, remove them.

When a tree experiences wind throw, the soil around the roots is often lifted up and loosened. Tamp it down again so the soil is firm and solid around the roots. You can also stake trees damaged and bent over by wind throw. Stake them as described above with the stakes at least 1-3’ (.3 – .6 m.) from the trunk.

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Eucalyptus Uses for Getting Rid of Pests

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While all gardens have pests, many gardeners are concerned about using chemical pesticides, especially near living spaces, around children and pets or on edible plants. One alternative to pesticides is using eucalyptus oil to eliminate or repel pests from the garden. Eucalyptus oil is sold with other essential oils in health food stores or where aromatherapy supplies are sold. It is simple to use and safe when used correctly.

The invading pests have found their way to California, but what is of concern is that their natural predators are not present in California, making a natural solution impossible. These pests are increasing at a rapid rate. Scientists are conducting research on various predators and are looking for ways to introduce them into the habitat. Birds and dragonflies may provide some control by reducing the number of psyllids.

There are no known chemical treatments. Even if there were chemical treatments, they would not be practical due to the size of the trees. Scientists are working to develop systemic insecticides. Since systemic insecticides are delivered through the tree's root system, the height of the tree would not present a problem when it comes to applying the insecticide.

  • The invading pests have found their way to California, but what is of concern is that their natural predators are not present in California, making a natural solution impossible.

How to Trim a Eucalyptus Tree

Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia but they are now prized in home landscapes around the world. They thrive in areas with warm summers and mild winters, as they do not tolerate prolonged periods of cold. Regular trimming helps the eucalyptus maintain its shape as the tree continues to grow. Eucalyptus trees are also susceptible to wind damage, which occurs when weak branches are broken off and cause damage to healthy sections of the tree. Yearly trims keep the eucalyptus healthy and damage-free.

Remove dead branches where they join the trunk or a main branch. Cut off branches that are less than 2 inches in diameter with a sturdy pair of loppers or clippers and remove larger branches with a pruning saw.

  • Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia but they are now prized in home landscapes around the world.
  • Eucalyptus trees are also susceptible to wind damage, which occurs when weak branches are broken off and cause damage to healthy sections of the tree.

Trim out damaged branches from where they emerge from the healthy wood. Cut the branches back to within 1/2 inch of a leaf bud or healthy branching twig.

Thin out the interior of the branches to prevent future damage. Cut out any crossed branches that rub against one another or those that are positioned close enough together that they knock into each other when it is windy.

Thin out top-heavy trees or thin the top of eucalyptus trees where you wish to control the height. Cut back up to one-third the height of the top branches, making each cut within 1/2 inch of a branch or leaf bud.

Maintenance trims do not affect the flowering of the tree. Eucalyptus trees produce heavy sap when they are cut. Rinse the loppers or saw off regularly as you trim so they do not become sticky.

Do not trim eucalyptus during humid weather or in late fall. Instead, prune the tree during the heat of summer. Eucalyptus tend to become top heavy so avoid pruning out too many of the lower branches.


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In southwestern Florida, many acres of eucalyptus were planted for timber. Florida, unfortunately, experienced some hard freezes in the last 10 years that reduced the value of the crop. While it is not suitable for lumber due to the eucalyptus mulch price, it is being used as a high-quality mulch in the plant industry. The whole tree is shedding while it is manufactured, and particles are screened to separate the smallest pieces.

There was an experiment done to compare pine bark, sedge peat and eucalyptus mulch in various combinations. The experiments began in April 1991. The experiment compared the growth of the Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis Compacta,' which is also known as the Boston fern, Musa acuminata 'Dwarf Cavendish,' a dwarf banana, and Maranta leuconeura erythroneura, also known as the red-vein prayer plant.

Data was collected and was then reported in July 1991 at the end of the experiment. The plants were graded one through five, with five being the highest grade and the preferred quality.

The Four Worst Trees To Plant In Your Garden

If you are thinking of planting any of these trees in your garden, think again! These are the worst trees to plant close to your house in a Brisbane (or any Australian) garden.

1. Eucalyptus tree (gum tree)

Eucalyptus has many varying types, differing in height, shape, and colour, but they all have similar characteristics that make them unsuitable for planting near a home on your property:

  • This species of tree can grow quite large, and both root system and canopy will pose possible issues.
  • Eucalyptus trees' root systems can be quite aggressive and far-reaching, and it is common for retaining walls or building foundations to be disturbed by searching roots. Roots can travel dozens metres, and further than their dripline.
  • Branches are likely to die off but not fall straight away. This leaves dangerous objects that may damage a person or property during storms or times of strong wind. Often eucalyptus branches can just become weak and fall to the ground without any external help.
  • Often, single large gum tree specimens are lone survivors of development. Where once they were a part of a larger stand of trees, naturally designed to withstand strong wind and storms, now alone and possibly structurally weak.
  • It is vital to have a qualified arborist to maintain your tree at least every two years to remove dead branches and check the structural integrity of the tree for safety.

2. Ficus species (fig tree)

Ficus plants are common as house ornament specimens in pots, and as neat topiary ‘lollipop’ shapes by the front door. They have lush green leaves and straight white trunks - they really are a beautiful plant. But as most potted plants go, once neglected they are thrown out to the yard where the roots break through the pot to the ground. Sometimes they are planted neatly in the ground, and maintained as a topiary.

  • These are rainforest giants that will grow 20-30 metres tall and wide. It is not a tree for a suburban yard.
  • The root system is very aggressive and strong and will easily knock down a masonry retaining wall. Even root barriers will struggle with this species.

3. Palms

Palms are beautiful plants in a domestic situation while young. The fronds are visible and can create a tropical oasis feeling in the yard or next to the pool. As they get older however, the problems begin:

  • Palm canopies grow higher and higher, until all you can see is a ‘telephone pole’ in the garden.
  • Palm fronds can be large, and falling down on windy days are disturbing and messy.
  • Some species of plam tree produce dates or fruit, that either attract annoying wildlife (screeching bats) or create a mess around the pool or in the pool (clogging filter systems).
  • If planted too close, the expanding trunk and roots of a palm tree will lift pavers and have been known to damage retaining walls.

4. Deciduous trees

Frangipani trees, Pink Trumpet trees, Golden Rain trees, Flame trees, Liquid Amber trees and other deciduous trees are wonderful features in the garden and can provide a spectacle in the turning of the seasons. Be careful of where these are planted though:

  • Dropping leaves can clog gutters and cause continuing damage if not cleaned out regularly.
  • Leaves on shady, wet paths can also cause injury to pedestrians if not frequently removed.

If you're even thinking of planting any of these trees, call me to chat about your landscape design. Head back here next week to find out the four best trees to plant! (If you forget, why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn).

How to protect Eucalyptus from diseases

There are many different benefits of Eucalyptus oil. Hence, it’s important to know how to protect it from diseases.

It is used in making aromatherapy products such as soaps and lotions and many other cosmetic products.

The best part about this oil is that it has natural properties that cannot be replaced by synthetic products.

Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree, native to Australia. It can be found almost everywhere, although there are places where it grows sparsely, mostly in desert areas. It is a native plant with flowers that are pink in color. It has a pungent, citrus smell that makes it a popular choice to scent many different products.

One of the most important aspects about how to protect Eucalyptus oil against diseases is to keep it stored away from direct exposure to air. This is because air pollution can trigger Eucalyptus oil to deteriorate.

If you have any kind of air conditioning unit in your home, it is imperative to regularly change the filter on it.

You should also use the proper filters to properly clean your air conditioner in order to remove any impurities that may have accumulated in the filter.

Some of these impurities can be harmful for the health of your family.

Another way to protect Eucalyptus oil from diseases is to do regular testing of the oil itself.

Testing the oil will help you determine if there are any changes taking place. The reason why testing is so important is because Eucalyptus oil may have a number of different chemicals and odors in it that it is unable to process.

By testing it, you can detect which chemicals or odors are causing damage.

This is the only way to know whether or not the oil needs to be changed or even removed entirely.

It should also be kept in mind that Eucalyptus oil is extremely flammable. It can easily ignite when exposed to fire.

Make sure you keep the oil away from any type of fire that could spark, such as those that are lit inside a kitchen or in a fireplace.


Apart from growing Eucalyptus trees, they’re also very medicinal.

So if you have children that use or are currently using products containing Eucalyptus oil, for example, make sure that you supervise them closely and ensure they do not try to open or inhale Eucalyptus oil.

If you have an allergy, you should also be aware that there are a number of asthma triggers that may lead to an asthma attack.

Watch the video: Eucalyptus trees and wind burn

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