NZ Lifestyle Block - - Farm & Livestock -

GUM AS A TREE divides a lot of peo­ple. One rea­son is dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties do bet­ter in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try – plant the wrong one for your area and you’ll prob­a­bly lose it to frost or the wrong soil con­di­tions. Also, once a gum gets away it’s fairly hardy, but when it’s young it needs to be fed and weeds kept back or it may die.

But the other is­sue is that th­ese are trees which can eas­ily get away on you. If you don’t cop­pice or cut them down be­fore the age of five years they can start to cause big prob­lems. Large gum trees nat­u­rally drop big branches dur­ing storms for sta­bil­ity, but that’s no com­fort if it’s near a build­ing or a ve­hi­cle, or worse a per­son. In Australia, gums are known as ‘widow mak­ers’ for the num­ber of peo­ple killed shel­ter­ing un­der gum trees dur­ing storms.

Eu­ca­lypts mostly grow very fast. At five years old, most will still be a man­age­able height to cut down, but once they get a cou­ple more years on them, you can be look­ing at a big felling op­er­a­tion and the cost of us­ing a com­mer­cial forestry chain­saw and log split­ter.

The roots of big eu­ca­lypts can spread a long way - up to 30m - so you don’t want them any­where near drive­ways or build­ings, and they will suck the good­ness out of the soil if you’re try­ing to grow pas­ture or crops amongst them.

The trick for a fire­wood block is to plant them with an­other good tim­ber/fire­wood species from their Aus­tralian home­land, aca­cia (wat­tles).

1. Eu­ca­lyp­tus botry­oides, south­ern ma­hogany

Con­di­tions: well-drained soils Fast-grow­ing, gor­geous tim­ber and fire­wood tree, cop­pices well af­ter 5 years. Ev­i­dence now that it’s not as tol­er­ant to coastal sit­u­a­tions as first thought. Is very sus­cep­ti­ble to sawfly, ophile­mus and leaf lerp although some bio-con­trol now avail­able with par­a­sites.

2. Eu­ca­lyp­tus nitens,

shin­ing gum

Con­di­tions: dry-moist soils (not wet), will tol­er­ate hu­mid­ity, frost, cold tem­per­a­tures Very fast-grow­ing which puts it at risk of be­ing blown over. Tall, hardy, can be cop­piced but not as re­li­able as other va­ri­eties.

3. Eu­ca­lyp­tus ovata, swamp gum

Con­di­tions: wet soils Cop­pices very well from 5 years+ and will re­grow from a stump sev­eral times, ex­cel­lent for fire­wood.

4. Eu­ca­lyp­tus mi­cro­co­rys, tal­low­wood wood

Con­di­tions: deep moist soil in­clud­ing clay, not frost-tol­er­ant Great wood for posts, cop­pices well for fire­wood,, flow­ers­flow­errs over win­ter so good for bee food, dense crown andd low branches make it a good shel­ter tree.

5. Eu­ca­lyp­tus muel­le­ri­ana, yel­low stringybark

Con­di­tions: well-drained soils, warmer cli­mates Fast-grow­ing, good qual­ity tim­ber, low tol­er­ance to frost.

6. Eu­ca­lyp­tus macrorhyn­cha, red stringybark

Con­di­tions: grows well in most soils but prefers welldrained, frost and drought-tol­er­ant Good qual­ity tim­ber, very hardy.

7. Eu­ca­lyp­tus fasti­gata, brown bar­rel gum

Con­di­tions: prefers deep vol­canic soils, shel­ter from wind Grows fast, cop­pices well, beau­ti­ful tim­ber for fur­ni­ture or constructions above ground.

8. Eu­ca­lyp­tus bo­sis­toana,

good tim­ber

ni­tro­gen-en-fix­ing,fi burns fast.

coast grey box

Con­di­tions: fer­tile, well-drained soil, clay, lime­stone This is a very dense wood, ex­cel­lent tim­ber for posts, floor­ing etc, doesn’t like dry, ex­posed sites or hard frost.

9. Eu­ca­lyp­tus saligna, Syd­ney blue gum

Con­di­tions: free-drain­ing moist soil, not wind-hardy Good cop­pic­ing tree, shade-tol­er­ant, doesn’t like windy sites, is af­fected by pests/dis­ease.

10. Eu­ca­lyp­tus vim­i­nalis, manna gum

Con­di­tions: dry to moist soil, drought-tol­er­ant Good cop­pice tree, good for shel­ter on ex­posed, dry sites, lovely flow­ers for bee feed.

What to plant with your gums

Gums of­ten do well with aca­cia (wat­tles) as the smaller trees can live un­der a gum canopy, and are also good fire­wood trees in their own right. Wat­tle va­ri­eties to try in­clude:

• Aca­cia elata, prefers moist soils, good tim­ber

• Aca­cia fal­ci­formis, does best on warm, fer­tilele sites,

• Aca­cia melanoxy­lon, good too cop­pice af­ter year 7 over

sev­eral ro­ta­tions, tol­er­ates­rates wide range of con­di­tions but

does best on shel­tered,hel­tered, well-drained, fer­tile soil,

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