How to Grow Eucalyptus Trees in Florida
Fertilizing eucalyptus trees is unnecessary, as it promotes fresh growth, which attracts detrimental insects, according to the University of California Integrated Pest Management.
Eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus cinerea) have a tolerance to hot, humid, salty and windy conditions that makes them a suitable choice for Florida gardeners statewide. Also called silver dollar tree because of its silver coinlike foliage, this tree also grows well throughout United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 8 through 11. Trees have an evergreen habit, growing quite quickly to a mature height of up to 50 feet. The tree also grows well inside containers and maintained as a shrub.
Remove any unwanted vegetation from a planting site located in full to partial sun by pulling it out by hand or killing it with an herbicide, applied according to package instructions. Consider the tree’s mature spread of up to 40 feet when selecting the site. Clear an area that is approximately 4 feet in diameter to cut down on possible injury by lawn equipment, as injured trees are prone to diseases and insect infestations, according to the University of California Integrated Pest Management.
Amend the planting site with organic materials such as compost or manure, as the majority of Florida’s soils are sandy, lacking organic nutrients. Use a 50 lb. bag of organic material and dig it down into the soil to a depth of approximately 8 to 12 inches. Eucalyptus trees prefer growing in well-drained, acidic soils that are rich.
Dig a hole that is two times wider and deeper than the eucalyptus tree’s rootball. This loosens the area’s soil, making it easier for the tree’s root system to spread properly throughout the area.
Backfill the hole with enough soil so the rootball will be at the same depth where it is presently growing. Planting the tree too deep puts undue stress upon it as it establishes itself in the new planting site.
Remove the tree from its container and place it inside the hole, backfilling with soil. Firm the area around the tree’s trunk by lightly pressing down on the soil with your foot.
Water the tree after planting, saturating the roots. Water approximately once each week for the first two to three months while the root system establishes itself. Thereafter, water monthly, depending on your Florida weather conditions, as eucalyptus trees are relatively drought-tolerant once established.
Prune the eucalyptus tree to remove dead branches or those interfering with structures. Avoid excessively pruning the tree and prune during late winter and early spring when insect activity is less of an issue. Pruning excessively can open the trunk up to sunburn, which causes sunburn cankers to form.
Treat pest problems such as the redgum lerp psyllid, which sucks out the tree’s juices. Use an insecticide safe for eucalyptus trees and apply according to package instructions.
For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.