Eucalyptus leaf damage
2 weeks ago we planted a (10-foot) eucalyptus debeuzevilliei. tree in sandy, free-draining soil. We followed the nursery's instructions to the letter - mulched well, and put on a fish blood and bone feed - and have watered copiously every day, but within a week of planting we noticed damage to some of the leaves - a sort of 'splitting':
Then, a good proportion of the leaves, both damaged and undamaged, turned pink, then brown, and after a downpour and some wind last night, about 150 of them have dropped off. A third or so of the remaining leaves are either 'split' or pinky brown (or both) and will presumably go the same way eventually.
Can anybody suggest what's happening and how we can stop the rot? Are we watering too much? Too little? What is the right amount?! Is the tree doomed?! (Apart from initially telling us that the 'splitting' was probably due to wind damage, the nursery aren't rushing to talk further to us about it).
Any advice appreciated!
You'll be hard-pushed to kill a eucalyptus.
I planted a sweet little eucalyptus I bought for £1.99 25 yrs ago.
It subsequently cost me £1100 to have it cut down a few yrs ago when it reached well over 100ft.
One thing I noticed every year in july/august was that it did drop some leaves. Only in these months, not at any other time, and they're a bu**er to collect as they're so waxy.
Neighbours joked it was the koalas - so I went along with that theory.
The leaf loss never did mine any harm and I guess it's something they just do.
Maybe a eucalyptus expert will be along here shortly.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
I was going to suggest koala too Pete.
Pat might know. She's in Australia so you'll have to wait till she's awake.
I'll pop a note on Forkers because she always checks in there.
Thanks for your reassurance Pete8 - we chose a eucalyptus partly because of its indestructible qualities so were somewhat perturbed to see it apparently going downhill so quickly, especially as we haven't seen any koalas up there yet! Maybe it was simply the shock of replanting such a large specimen that's done it - not being as young as we used to be we were hoping for an 'instant' tree or we might have picked out a £1.99 specimen too!
Thanks plant pauper - I'm new to this forum so don't know all the posting options - Forkers sounds interesting, however......
Ha! I don't know about that DG but it has it's moments. It's a general chat thread...some people bother with it, some people don't. Pat generally comes on when we're all asleep for obvious reasons.
You mentioned that your tree is mature. That may indeed be part of the problem. More mature specimens are harder to establish so it may be planting shock. Here's hoping.
So long as you keep it well watered for the first year, it'll soon establish and rocket skywards.
Then you just wait for the koalas to arrive...
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Thanks for your comments. Debeuzevilliei isn't supposed to get too big - maybe 30 feet or so, though we want to keep it half that size, so an annual prune I think. This probably means we're unlikely to get many koalas .... nowhere for them to hide!
Hello Downs Gardener. I assume by your name that you live in an exposed region?
the Eucalyptus you are asking about is native to my region. It is a sub-species of E. pauciflora. Most of the E pauciflora are commonly called Snow Gums.
What I think, not being a specialist in cultivating Eucalypts (there are several different species of Eucalpts all over our 100 acres which look after themselves) is that you could check your pH level for one thing. Our pH is slightly acid, about 6.5. and our soil is quite poor nutritionally. We are mountainous (by Australian standards) and get snow in winter and hot summers. Our rainfall is not high - around 450mm on average per year.
So - my guess is that you could use less fertiliser and less water. Don't forget that your tree was fairly mature, so there will be a certain amount of transplant shock.
ive photographed a couple of pages from two books which might be interesting for you, but probably won't help with cultivation information.
The first one is "Native Trees and Shrubs of South-eastern Australia" by Leon Costermans.
the second is from "Field Guide to Eucalypts" vol 1, by BrookerAnd Kleinig.
I hope you can read them.
the other suggestion on this thread was that they might do those things in winter, and that is certainly possible. By the way they don't compost easily. Tough things.
Further to the jokes about koalas, they are NOT the type of Eucalypts that they eat. They have a short list of which ones they eat.
cant think what else to say. Hope it helps.
Wow! Thanks for the comprehensive reply PatE, (and I can read the pages).
We're in the country but not really exposed. We live in the south of England, just to the north of the South Downs. It's a bit colder in winter than on the coast, just 10 miles away, but winters are rarely that bad here and snow is very rare indeed! We can get a bit of wind, but the tree has some shelter from tall beech hedges and mature trees and shrubs so shouldn't suffer too much in that respect we hope.
We're going to test the ph level - as you say, we may have overdone the fertiliser!
And yes, transplant shock could be a factor - maybe making a normal leaf-drop that much worse.
Thanks again for your advice. I'll post on progress!
Thanks DG. Yes, I'd like to know how it goes. You've peaked my interest now.
8am here, so I assume you're all tucked up in bed.