Thursday, March 17, 2011


Another tree you'll see around Tucson is the Eucalyptus Tree.  Several varieties of this tree are out there with most of them being very successful in our climate. However, not all the Eucalyptus trees perform well due to our extreme frosts. The beautiful silver grey foliage adds contrast against the green of your garden. I would say that many of these Eucalyptus trees are moderate to fast growers.  Their roots are aggressive and will search for water which may include a leaky pipe.  This is a tree that you'll want to plant far away from your home and/or underground pipes.  Dotted along our skyline, these trees during the right sunset can make you feel like you are in Africa.  Queue "The Lion King" soundtrack.  They are giants amongst our native trees. There are several older trees in Tucson and many older Eucs in Phoenix that have grown over 50 to 60 feet tall!!!  Some can get even higher.  These varieties are now illegal to plant in Tucson, but they can still be seen around town as they tower above homes and businesses.  I spoke with my arborist friend about these massive giants and he told me that the reason why many of those Eucs are LARGE is due to the root system finding a sewer system:)  No need to fertilize:)  Every year, I see a homeowner cutting one down and it's painful, but I understand why they're doing it......the roots invaded their sewer/water lines.  Please be careful and contract someone to remove one of these large trees.  My arborist friend was telling me about a group of people in Tucson trying to remove one of these giant Eucs and in the process of cutting the tree down, a massive limb fell 20 feet on top of their car. Wow!!! Don't cut corners with this kind of project. Find a certified arborist.

One of the things at El Presidio that I needed to do was clean up dead trees that were leaning against buildings.  After we had moved into our place, I had a dead Euc removed and replaced with one that could withstand our winters.  Some varieties are frost sensitive like the one that had been planted at El Presidio.  A cold snowy winter weekend killed a variety known as the Silver Dollar Tree around town. This tree is one of my favorites because it has these beautifully round leaves that make for great shade in your yard.  For years, these trees had been unaffected by our Tucson winters and then suddenly, a snowstorm came and froze these trees back to the ground or killed them completely.  Other species were also affected.    There are several hardy varieties for Tucson that can withstand our extreme temps. One of which is the coolibah or Eucalyptus microtheca. You may find several other species at the gardening center.  If you plant the Silver Dollar tree, just be aware that a severe frost can do some damage to it in Tucson. In Phoenix, you should be okay.

My hand at art in the garden...down the road, these two trees will create a canopy on the garden grounds.  They are spread out from one another but will eventually connect in the sky.  The Euc will not grow wide as it will tall and the Ash tree will grow wide and not tall creating a multi layer effect.
It's evergreen all year round. It's common for leaf and bark to shed or flake off. Moderate watering at a rate of one time per week. Honestly, I sometimes don't even water right now during our winter weather.  Our random rain takes care of it all for me:)  So what's my specific use with this plant at El Presidio?  One.  It's for the silver grey leaves.  Two. As this tree gets larger, it's going to add to the "tall" portion of my canopy project.  My Euc will get tall but not wide like the Ash tree or Jacaranda.  However, it will shoot above both their canopies and create a multi layered affect in the sky for birds and visitors alike.  Right now all of it looks bizarre as the trees are only about 2-3 years of age. As it ages, people are going to enjoy the fun. The story of the Euc is an interesting one worldwide. If you are interested in this fascinating tree, you should do some reads on why it was planted in California and later on, what negative consequences this tree had in Oakland for homeowners. Hint...there was a huge firestorm in the hills.  This tree is also used all over the world to clean up malaria in swamps etc.  It can be seen in Peru, Mexico, and well......all over the world. 

One more unique type tree to complete the tree series and I'll be done with this part of my journal.  Until next time, happy gardening!!!

1 comment:

  1. I have some leaf drop on the top of the tree. Not sure if it's damage from the tree or normal leaf shed.


Thanks for stopping by!